ADDRESS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
AT THE PIRI REIS EVENT HOSTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY
(13 June 2013)
Minister Ergün, Ambassador Çeviköz, Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
This event, marking the 500th anniversary of the Piri Reis Map (Chart) which is a pre modern map compiled in 1513, tells us about Turkey’s contribution to the activity of mankind in the maritime field from very early days in the history of navigation.
I visited Turkey last year and my personal experience was visiting the VTS Centre in Istanbul, where I witnessed a well-organized traffic information and management system, which has been in service since the end of 2003. I was impressed by the modern system and considered that Istanbul is ideally placed to be the standard-bearer for a worldwide ‘Accident Zero’ campaign. IALA is now making progress with this campaign.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to briefly touch upon the performance of Turkish shipping. Today, Turkish ships are performing very well, in my view, by complying with safety and environmental requirements: for example, in 2009, Turkey moved from the grey to the white list of the Paris MoU. I praise the effort of the Turkish shipping industry and appreciate the hard work of everybody involved.
Being a Council member since 1990, Turkey has been contributing to the work of the IMO at all levels. I also appreciated Turkey’s efforts in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden since 2009 and consistent support on technical co-operation activities of IMO.
I am confident that the very constructive support from Turkey and contribution of Turkey to the activities of IMO will continue to be strengthened because of the growing importance and excellent performance of the Turkish shipping industry, supported by the Turkish Government under the strong leadership of the Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, and because of the country’s on-going contribution to the IMO’s work and global objectives.
Today’s gift from Turkey of the Piri Reis Map of 1513, is a clear symbol of strong support from the Government of Turkey to the work of IMO and will stay on the main stage of the Organization. This is a wonderful gift: part of our maritime heritage and an asset to mankind. I cannot think of any more suitable organization to receive it than this Organization, the International Maritime Organization. On behalf of the Organization, I appreciate, through Minister Ergün and Ambassador Çeviköz, the Government of Turkey for presenting this gift.