The “26th Universal Postal Congress”, during which decisions to steer the future of the postal sector will be taken, began at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel and Conference Center with the attendance of around 2 thousand delegates from 192 countries. During the opening ceremony of the Congress, a minute of silence was held for the 15 July Democracy Martyrs and those who have lost their lives due to terror attacks all around the world. Following the “Fire and Water” performance, our Prime Minister H. E. Binali YILDIRIM, our Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications H. E. Ahmet ARSLAN, our Chairman of Board and Director-General of the Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT Corp.) H. E. Kenan BOZGEYİK and Universal Postal Union Director-General H. E. Bishar HUSSEIN delivered their opening speeches. Our President H. E. Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, on the other hand, in his congratulatory telegraph stated, “I see with great happiness that the 26th Universal Postal Congress is taking place in Turkey. Since I am attending a United Nations meeting abroad, I cannot be among you. I hope that this effort, initiated under the headship of our esteemed Prime Minister, will be beneficial for the global postal sector and I welcome our guests coming in from all four corners of the world. I hope for the success of the 26th Universal Postal Union.”
“WELCOME TO ISTANBUL THE GLOBAL CITY”
Our Prime Minister H. E. Binali YILDIRIM started his speech at the Opening Ceremony with the words, “Welcome to Istanbul the global city; the meeting point of cultures, civilizations, the East and the West. I am utterly pleased to be among you during the opening of the Universal Postal Congress that will continue until 7 October.” Reminding that Turkey during the 25th Congress held in Doha in 2012 had expressed its will to be the next host and that this request was approved upon the unanimity of the delegates, our Prime Minister H. E. YILDIRIM said, “I thank you, who had made the decision to realize this important global event in Istanbul; the employees of the Ministry of Transportation, who completed the entire preparatory works; the entire UPU secretariat, especially H. E. Bishar Hussein; and all those who have put in their efforts.” H. E. YILDIRIM remarked that the 26th Congress would be referred to as the first “Paper Smart” congress of the UPU, and thus would bear the quality of being an “environmentalist congress”.
During his speech, our Prime Minister H. E. Binali YILDIRIM pointed out to the momentum the PTT has gained. Expressing that when he took office in 2002 the PTT was an establishment that was not making any profit, that they had eliminated this situation owing to the works they carried out and that services developed and increased in scope, H. E. YILDIRIM said, “The PTT on one hand grasps technology, on the other with personal stamps, traditional letter services, builds the future by preserving the past.
Also touching upon the coup attempt of 15 July during his speech, H. E. Binali YILDIRIM added: “As you know, on the night of 15 July, a coup attempt took place. With its sagacity, foresight, honorable stance our beloved nation managed to overcome this attempt against the Turkish democracy, the national will of Turkey and has secured the future, the democracy of Turkey. We know that after this incident, some opportunist circles – by putting forward security as an excuse – put theirs efforts into having the organization, the decision of which was taken four years ago, carried out somewhere else. However, with the decisive attitude of the Universal Postal Union and the righteous struggle of the PTT administration, the decision taken in Doha has today become an exact reality. Esteemed friends, let us never forget this: You cannot be safe by running away from terror. You scare it off, then you are safe. Together, we shall not fear terror; it will fear us. Then in the world, in Turkey, everywhere, safety will be ensured.”
Also evaluating the refugee crisis, our Prime Minister H. E. YILDIRIM stated, “There are around 60 million refugees, people with no homelands. We cannot build a world free of terror before we solve their problems, by shutting our eyes and closing our ears to global issues. We most definitely have to dig into the depths, into the reasons of the terror present in various parts of the world. We should never make the mistake of conceiving other terrorist organizations while struggling against one.” Reminding that Turkey has embraced 3.5 million refugees, H. E. YILDIRIM said, “Since 6 years we have been sharing our bread, our home. And that we are proud of, for we are a guest-loving nation. We are a nation that embraces those in trouble, those in need. This is our tradition, our past.”
“WE HAVE CARRIED OUT MAJOR PROJECTS”
Our Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications H. E. Ahmet ARSLAN pointed out to the fact that very important leaps were taken in the last 14 years thanks to our President H. E. Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN and our Prime Minister H. E. Binali YILDIRIM and added, “You have handed over to us flags flying high in not only the PTT, but in aviation, highways, railways, in the maritime sector. With all our friends, we truly work day and night under your auspices to ensure that we can compete with the world in these sectors and in order to keep up with the course of the world.” Providing information on the major projects Turkey has carried out in the fields of transportation, maritime affairs and communications, H. E. ARSLAN said, “Turkey’s build-run-assign model is taught as a doctorate lesson in many parts of the world today.”
Our Minister H. E. Ahmet ARSLAN stated that at the end of the Congress Turkey would assume the Chair of the Council of Administration of the Universal Postal Union until 2020 and added, “We will set an example to the world by applying very well the decisions taken during this Congress. I thank all participants. I hope beforehand that their contributions will bring luck and good to our country, to the world, to humanity.”
“IT IS TIME TO GRASP THE SPIRIT OF TIME”
Our Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT Corp.) Chairman of Board and Director-General H.E. Kenan BOZGEYİK indicated that Anatolian lands have hosted many civilizations throughout ages and witnessed the turning points of the history of mankind and said, “Shining in the world like a star with its rooted history in this geography, its magnificent historical and cultural values and its strong position in its region, our country is adding yet another one to the international organizations it has realized in the recent years. We feel the pride of hosting in Turkey for the first time a congress of the Universal Postal Union, of which we are among the founding members.” Expressing that PTT Corp., which has a rooted history of 175 years, has an extensive service network in the fields of post, cargo, banking and e-commerce, H. E. BOZGEYİK stated, “Enhanced as a result of the globalization process, changing economic approaches and the increased activity of private enterprises in the postal markets, the competition environment makes a reform program necessary. It is time to grasp the spirit of time. A lot has changed since the notes conveyed by mankind on the wings of birds, messages that vibrate the wires of the telegraph, letters filled with longing. Now, messages are conveyed with a single button in milliseconds. E-commerce constitutes an important part of the postal services. In the global world, in which information and communication technologies are changing at rapid speed, it is of major significance that we steer the postal services in accordance with the changing and diversifying needs of our customers.”
During his speech, our Director-General H. E. Kenan BOZGEYİK touched upon the Ministerial Conference as well and said the following: “The Ministerial Conference regulation that began with Doha fulfills a very important function in raising the governments’ awareness about the postal sector. Constituting the most important day of the 26th Congress is the 4 October Ministerial Conference. Government officials and high-level executives will shape the postal strategy of the future through the decisions they will put forward there. Following the congress decision taken in 2012 under the leadership of our esteemed Prime Minister, we continued our efforts ceaselessly. I offer my thanks to everyone who put in their efforts in these works and all of our officials who supported having the Congress in Turkey. In our day, in which we experience wars and humanity tragedies such as the refugee crisis, I hope that the postal pigeons’ call for peace will resonate in the entire world. I hope that you will take beneficial decisions for our sector in company with the unique historical and cultural values of our Istanbul, its natural beauties and a foamy Turkish coffee; and that the 26th Universal Postal Congress will be fruitful.”
“WE ARE GRATEFUL TO TURKEY”
During his speech, which he began with the words, “Welcome to the Congress taking place in this beautiful city, in Istanbul,” Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director-General H. E. Bishar HUSSEIN stated that they are grateful to Turkey for accepting to host the 26th Congress. H. E. HUSSEIN said, “Turkey’s insistent and decisive manner in hosting this Congress is in fact a very good proof of the support given to the Congress. You displayed a very warm hospitality towards all the delegation representatives. On behalf of everyone, we are very grateful to you. Istanbul is a city that embraces two continents. We are very pleased to be here.”
H. E. Bishar HUSSEIN stated that the 26th Congress in Turkey would be realized in very modern conditions and in a very fruitful way. Pointing out that the 26th Congress is “Paper Smart” H. E. HUSSEIN said that Turkey has taken a very important step in terms of both cutting down the costs and protecting the environment and thanked about the issue. Director-General Bishar HUSSEIN said, “Last year, the United Nations determined the Sustainable Development Goals. The UPU is in a position to contribute to each and every single goal in question. The infrastructure we have at hand is fundamental in terms of the social development of countries. It is very important that all of us contribute to postal managements. Only thus can we continue the success of our Union today and in the future.” Indicating that the “World Postal Strategy” to be determined during the 26th Congress would be referred to with the name of Istanbul, H. E. HUSSEIN went on to add, “I believe that the importance of the postal systems in the overall development of countries will gradually increase thanks to this Congress. We are going through a critical time; we have come to a point where we can make history during this Congress. Our aim is to carry to the future the vision of the Union that was set 143 years ago.”
Following the speeches, the “26th Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress” Commemorative Stamp was launched and the Family Photo of the 26th Congress was taken. Later on, the Stamp Exhibition was launched.
CONGRESS TO CONTINUE UNTIL 7 OCTOBER
Taking place under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications and as PTT Corp. as host, the “26th Universal Postal Congress” will continue until 7 October. During the Congress, the “Istanbul World Postal Strategy”, which will shape the activities of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) between 2017-2020 will be determined. Following the Congress, our country will assume the Chair of the UPU Council of Administration between 2017-2020.