Excellency, Deputy Minister for Development, Mr. Mehmet Çeylan,
Dear colleagues, Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps,
Dear members of the Portuguese community in Turkey,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
(Hoşgeldiniz, iyi akşamlar)
- My wife and I are honored and delighted to welcome you tonight to celebrate our National Day. Portugal and Turkey share a warm friendship relation, which has been growing from strength to strength. We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve together and I wish to reaffirm our determination to consolidate the existing ties.
- Allow me to highlight, at the bilateral level, the signature of an agreement on global strategic partnership on the occasion of the visit of His Excellency, the Prime Minister of Portugal, to Ankara, in December 2012, as well as three agreements, in the economic, cultural and defense fields, concluded during the visit of President Gül to Lisbon, in May this year.
- Our bilateral trade has reached a total amount of 1 billion € in 2012 but there are encouraging perspectives of further growing; an increasing number of students from both countries is seeking the others’ Universities for a period of study and cultural immersion. Last year alone, within the framework of the Erasmus program, Portugal has hosted around 600 Turkish students and there is here a growing interest in the Portuguese language.
- At the wider international level, Portugal has been a constant supporter of Turkey’s accession to the European Union, as we believe the EU has as much to benefit from Turkey’s energy and industriousness as Turkey from Europe’s development, democratic and peaceful values, respect for human rights and stability. We welcome the opening of new Chapters, the alignment with the European acquis as well as the road map towards visa liberalization. And we believe Turkey will be able to proceed that path, in a systematic and determined way.
- Tonight, our celebration is a double one: on the one hand, we evoke our great national poet, Luís Vaz de Camões, who died in 1580; on the other, we honor all the Portuguese communities and, most specially, the Portuguese living abroad, which amount to a total of around 5,5 million, scattered from Latin America, to southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.
- By doing so, we seek to prevail ourselves and renew in us, every year, Camões’ humanistic legacy and cosmopolitan vision of the world. Although deprived of his literary genius, like him, we celebrate tonight the essential shared nature of all human beings, regardless of race, latitude, credo or social class.
- We also, of course, reiterate our love to our country, while seeking inspiration to deal with the great responsibility to carry our “homeland” into the future. Something we could, as well as in Camões, find in the verses of Turkey’s great poet, Nazim Hikmet:
You are my imprisonment and my freedom,
burning like a summer night,
you are my Country.
- And to celebrate Portugal, I am honored to invite you to share with us a taste of Fado, a music genre embodying much of our national soul, but also incorporating a great multicultural synthesis. Fado has inherited the Moorish legacy of string instruments, some of the rhythm of Afro-Brazilian dances, the traditionalism of rural areas and, in modern days, the cosmopolitanism of urban poetry.
- Because of its unique musical prosody and the communion it has fostered between the disfavored fringes of society and the socioeconomic elites, fado has been recognized by UNESCO, in 2011, as part of humankind’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now have the opportunity to listen to the beautiful voice of Claudia Madur, accompanied by two musicians, Mário Henriques, on the Portuguese guitar, and Artur Caldeira, on the guitar.They all have been performing regularly in Europe and the USA, have an impressive academic background in musical studies and will certainly become one of the best among the new generation of fado performers.
- One last word of gratitude to all our sponsors that also made this concert and reception possible.
- Once again: thank you for being with us tonight; I wish you a good concert and a nice reception afterwards. Enjoy! And as we say in Portugal, silencio que se vai cantar o Fado (please keep silent as Fado is about to be sung).