The events organized as part of the 6-day long Istanbul Forum for Arab Journalists continue on the third day in Turkey’s largest city.
Organized by the Istanbul Municipality for the first time, the Forum has seen the attendance of 60 journalists from 18 Arab countries, including Egypt, Syria Libya, Sudan, and Tunisia with a view to having fruitful discussions with their Turkish counterparts.
Ridvan Duran, head of the technical affairs department of Istanbul Municipality, while welcoming the Arab journalists on Tuesday, said that "Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in the world."
"Istanbul currently hosts about 700 thousands of different Arab nationalities," he added, wishing the journalists a good time in the city.
In a speech, Metin Mutanoglu, deputy director-general of Anadolu Agency, pointed to "the presence of a distinguished group of Arab journalists in the forum," noting that the forum should address the media developments in the region which undergo big transformations, especially when it comes to social media platforms.
On the first day of the Forum, the journalists were welcomed by a large number of Turkish officials and members of the press. The visiting journalists were taken on a tour of Istanbul’s captivating Bosporus Strait, during which they listened to Turkish music and tasted a large selection of delicacies from the Turkish cuisine.
On Thursday, the group was taken to see the construction of Istanbul's new airport and told about all the services to be offered.
During the tour, the journalists attended a presentation by the airport's Chief Executive Officer Kadri Samsunlu, who affirmed that Arabic would be one of the languages in which all the services would be available.
'Solid and old relations'
Samsunlu went on to note that the new airport would have all the high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment people would expect to see at a modern airport, and would provide a faster delivery of luggage in addition to offering an amazing range of shopping options and entertainment.
In a speech he gave on the sidelines of the forum, Al-Sadeq Ahmed Ibrahim, the head of the Union of Sudanese Journalists, said the historical ties between Istanbul and the Arab world were “solid and old”.
“We and our Turkish counterparts have to work together to promote the great human values and the decent principles of media," he said.
For his part, Bashir al-Bakr, the editor-in-chief of the Al-Arabi Al-Jadid newspaper, said Turkey meant a lot to them. “Turkey is already involved in various Arab issues as a dynamic that helps maintain the balance in the region."
Al-Bakr pointed out that Turkey treated Syrians as it treated its citizens at all levels, particularly in education and health.
“This is an important and spiritual position that should be greeted and respected," he said.
“We journalists have the task of building bridges between the Arab and Turkish shores.”