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Rewarding achievements and a record million visitors in three months at Expo 2021 Hatay

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) attended the Expo 2021 Hatay International Organisation Award Ceremony hosted in Hatay’s Antakya expo area on Saturday, 2 July. This AIPH Category B Approved International Horticultural Exhibition hosted in Türkiye promoted the theme of ‘Garden of Civilisations’.

The Award Ceremony was to celebrate the achievements of the gardens and pavilions created by participating countries and municipalities.

‘We did not give up when facing challenges’

In his ceremonial opening speech, the Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (HBB) President Dr Lütfü Savaş triumphantly spoke about his and the organising team’s commitment to the Expo. He said: “We wanted to share the beauty of Hatay. Despite the shadows of a pandemic and war near our borders, we wanted to develop Hatay. We chose to instil hope even on the most difficult days. That’s why we are hosting this Expo. We thought about Hatay’s agriculture, trade, tourism, peace, and welfare. We did not give up when facing challenges because we focused on the goal. We had to start and carry on for the people of Hatay, Türkiye, and the world. Against the odds, we have made it a success with more than one million people visiting in three months.”

Hatay’s Expo Secretary General İhsan Çakar underlined the success in his speech by mentioning that the number of visitors attending more than 100 events was considerably higher than expected.

Member of the National Assembly of Türkiye and Republican People’s Party (CHP), Hatay Deputy Suzan Şahin declared that this Expo has united countries and cultures and significantly contributed to Hatay’s recognition on the world stage.

AIPH Vice President Leonardo Capitanio presented Dr Savaş with the AIPH EXPO Achievement Award and Mr Çakar an AIPH Certificate of Honour.

AIPH Vice President Mr Leonardo Capitanio (right) presents Dr Lütfü Savaş (left) with the AIPH EXPO Achievement Award.
The Expo 2021 Hatay, Secretary General Mr İhsan Çakar, talks about the Expo’s success in his presentation.
Invited VIPs and guests standing just before the opening of Expo 2021 Hatay Award Ceremony.

In Mr Capitanio’s speech, he acknowledged the difficulties the global pandemic has put on the organisers. He said: “This is my opportunity to congratulate the hard-working team on delivering a successful international horticultural Expo.

“You have been on an incredible journey. When AIPH approved your Expo, back in 2017, no-one could have predicted the challenges you would face between then and now – from war at your border to a global pandemic. But through it all, you have remained committed, resolute, and firm and you brought it to completion.”

International and national city participation

Thirteen metropolitan cities of Türkiye created exciting gardens and pavilions showing plants from their regions and sharing their culture. These were complemented by gardens from international participants, including the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; Republic of Djibouti; Aalen, East Germany and Kiel, North Germany; Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic; Republic of Madagascar; Nepal, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and Republic of the Philippines.

Antalya won the main AIPH prize for its very high-quality garden, which used plants and flowers to tell the story of the effects of climate change. The planting went from bright colours to burnt wood, highlighting the devastating fires that affected Antalya in 2021. AIPH presented its Green City prize to the Hatay Garden as it demonstrated how plants can be incorporated into daily life.

Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Park and Gardens Department Head Dr Çiğdem Hacıoğlu said, “I would like to thank Dr Lütfü Savaş and his team for leaving such a beautiful area for future generations. I think EXPO 2021 Hatay has achieved its goal.”

AIPH Vice President Mr Leonardo Capitanio (right) presents the Green City Award to Hatay Metropolitan Municipality.
AIPH Senior International Relations Manager Mr Treve Evans (right) presents International City Indoor Garden Award to Pakistan.
AIPH Türkiye Representative Mr İsmail Yılmaz (left) presents Global Climate and Life Award to Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.

‘An incredible experience’

Speaking to the press at the ceremony, the Gold Winner of the AIPH International City Indoor Garden Award, Mr Abdul Wahid from Pakistan, said: “I have really enjoyed sharing my culture and cuisine at Expo 2021 Hatay. We built a garden at the Expo sites in Antakya and İskenderun. We also have a restaurant in the Iskenderun area, where people can taste Pakistani food. We brought our Chai, similar to Turkish tea, and our special food flavours from Pakistan here. We are proud to have been part of this big initiative for Hatay. I can see that this Expo has greatly pushed the city regarding transportation, infrastructure, and economy.”

In congratulating all participants, Mr Capitanio said, “Expos like yours are only possible with the support of the horticulture industry. Turkey is represented in AIPH by the Turkish Ornamental plants and flowers exporters union and its President, Mr İsmail Yilmaz. I would like to thank him for his ongoing support for AIPH and the Expo here in Hatay.”

AIPH Türkiye Representative Mr Yılmaz emphasised that Hatay has a significant potential for plant production and trade in terms of climate, land conditions and proximity to the market. He said that the Expo had given growers a considerable advantage to reveal this potential, and he is confident this incredible work will continue. Hatay will become an important centre for it in the future.

AIPH Senior International Relations Manager Mr Treve Evans (right) presents Traditional City Texture and Design Award.
Expo 2021 Hatay, President Dr Lütfü Savaş presents Mrs Banu Özdilek with the Garden of Civilisations Special Award.
AIPH Türkiye Representative Mr İsmail Yılmaz (left) presents the Local Agricultural Biodiversity and Sustainability Award.

Expo 2021 Hatay’s legacy will continue

The Expo areas of Antakya and İskenderun will continue to be important for agriculture, trade, tourism, entertainment, education, and cultural activities. The Expo activities will continue until October, culminating with an international four-day agriculture fair.

In concluding his visit to Expo 2021 Hatay, Mr Capitanio said, “It has been an incredible experience for me. Hatay will be in a good place in the future for the horticultural sector. The soil, fertility and water here are very beautiful. I invite people from all over the world to visit Hatay.”

AIPH Senior International Relations Manager Treve Evans agrees, adding, “I saw the site when it was first under construction. The Expo organisers’ success, despite all the challenges, is tremendous. I think Hatay’s future will be very good.”

Full list of Expo 2021 Hatay Award Ceremony Winners

PRIZE CATEGORYCHAMPIONS
AIPH – GARDEN AWARDS
Outdoor Garden AwardAntalya Metropolitan Municipality
International Outdoor Garden Awards Aalen Municipality, Germany
Kiel Municipality, Germany
Municipality of Kyrenia, North Cyprus
Kyrgyzstan
Nepal
Philippine
International City Indoor Garden AwardPakistan
AIPH – CITIES AWARDS
Green City AwardHatay Metropolitan Municipality
Local Agricultural Biodiversity and Sustainability AwardAydın Metropolitan Municipality
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Muğla Metropolitan Municipality
Traditional City Texture and Design AwardGaziantep Metropolitan Municipality
Adana Metropolitan Municipality
Ankara Metropolitan Municipality
Historical Heritage and Agricultural Identity AwardIzmir Metropolitan Municipality
Natural Areas and Urban Design AwardEskişehir Metropolitan Municipality
Mersin Metropolitan Municipality
Global Climate and Life AwardAntalya Metropolitan Municipality
EXPO 2021 HATAY SPECIAL AWARDS
Garden of Civilisations Special AwardMrs Banu Özdilek
Mrs Hatice Pamir
Peace Flower Special AwardThe Choir of Civilisations
Ms Yelda Büyükaşık
Promotion Special AwardSouth Korean Embassy, Türkiye
Austrian Embassy, Türkiye
Russian Embassy, Türkiye
Afyon Metropolitan Municipality
Historical Structures and Design Special AwardAalen Municipality, Germany
Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality
Mersin Metropolitan Municipality
Ankara Metropolitan Municipality
Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality
Municipality of Kyrenia, North Cyprus
Antalya Metropolitan Municipality
Adana Metropolitan Municipality
Innovative Garden Special Awardİzmir Metropolitan Municipality
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Municipality of Kiel, Germany
Educational Garden Special AwardMunicipality of Kiel, Germany
Social Responsibility Special AwardSwedish Consulate, Türkiye
Global Climate and Awareness Special AwardAntalya Metropolitan Municipality
Special Award for the Promotion of Natural Wealth and HeritageMersin Metropolitan Municipality
Agricultural Wealth Promotion Special AwardAydın Metropolitan Municipality
Muğla Metropolitan Municipality
Gastronomy Special AwardItaly Restaurant
South Korean Embassy, Türkiye
Pakistani Restaurant
Nepalese Restaurant
Cyprus Restaurant
Afyon Metropolitan Municipality
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Adana Metropolitan Municipality

Record-breaking

The Guinness World Records has officially certified the Co-Existence Mosaic largest marble stone mosaic has been achieved by Hatay Metropolitan Municipality on 23 July. View more on this story on this link.

Watch highlights from the Expo 2021 Hatay International Organisation Award Ceremony

Watch the success story of Expo 2021 Hatay


Rachel Wakefield

Communications Executive and Associate Editor
United Kingdom

[email protected]