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Atatürk Cultural Centre has become a symbol for Istanbul’s identity. It is the very first place where I gained considerable stage experiences, earned a few artistic achievements, and spent the best years of my childhood. Even when I was a young student, the pleasure of waiting in the box office queues, buying the tickets with my student allowance and watching the most beautiful concerts and artistic events held in Istanbul has been quite priceless for me. As a 15-year-old young artist, appearing on the stages that I followed fondly and curiously was like skipping a grade in my art career. The first concert of every artist is important. It was undoubtedly one of the most special moments of my life to perform for the first time with the İstanbul State Symphony Orchestra by my side. This concert was the first step of my success. The fact that I took part in different stages of Atatürk Cultural Centre every year and that I improved my repertoire in this hall and therefore entered the world stage made the centre into a place of representation for the artist in me. It was a school for my young colleagues who were like me. 

It was an honour to see significant artistic works of our country and the world being staged here when we sat as mere spectators. The centre was a warm and lovely nest where you were satisfied not only with your eyes or ears but also with your heart. The absence of Atatürk Cultural Centre as a symbol in our lives could never be filled. I’m excited that it will reopen after many years. 

We are looking forward to the reopening of this warm nest, which is the continuation of our identity awareness that we have created with our culture and art by experiencing the same excitement.

I welcome the reopening of the Atatürk Cultural Center and its contribution to the cultural and artistic life of our country with great happiness and joy. Istanbul is a cultural capital where two worlds meet, and Atatürk Culture Centre will be the most important cultural centre to host these cultures.

Cihat Aşkın 

16.7.2021, İstanbul. 

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