Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural And Arts Center Opened (1)

Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center Opened

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center in the Yakuplu neighborhood of Beylikdüzü, in collaboration with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) and the Beylikdüzü Municipality, has been put into service. Some of the units in the center have been named after individuals who have left their mark in history. These individuals include Sevgi Soysal, who passed away on November 22, 1976; Rasim Öztekin, the renowned actor who left us on March 8, 2021; Oğuz Arda Sel, who tragically lost his life at the age of 9 in a train accident in Çorlu on July 8, 2018; Neslican Tay, who fought and triumphed over cancer three times but sadly passed away at the age of 21 in 2019 due to the same illness; and Nuri Ulusu, who served as the librarian of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Emotional words from the relatives of Soysal, Öztekin, Sel, Tay, and Ulusu during the opening ceremony moved the attendees, including Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. İmamoğlu stated, “Each one of them has a special story, each one has a special moment,” and expressed his satisfaction in keeping the name of Fatih Sultan Mehmet alive in Beylikdüzü, following in the footsteps of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded the Turkish Republic.

İmamoğlu emphasized the uniqueness of Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Istanbul, highlighting that he did not follow the same strategies as those who had previously failed but instead brought about a change in mentality and strategy with his commanders, ultimately conquering Istanbul at the age of 21. İmamoğlu also stressed the need for us to find ways and methods to win hearts, especially in the realm of politics, which has lost its reputation, and to contribute together to a strong change. He emphasized that this era’s conquest is about winning hearts.

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center, completed through the collaboration of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) and Beylikdüzü Municipality, has been inaugurated on the 100th anniversary of the Liberation of Istanbul. The center includes İSMEK (Enstitü İstanbul), İBB City Theaters, Yuvamız İstanbul, sports facilities, a youth center, a covered market area, a children’s cinema, and a council chamber, along with a library. A ceremony was held for the opening of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center, and attendees included İBB Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, Beylikdüzü Municipality Mayor Mehmet Murat Çalık, Hasan Akgün, Mayor of Büyükçekmece, Turan Taşkın Özer, CHP Istanbul Deputy, Tahsin Ocaklı, CHP Rize Deputy, Ercüment Şahin Çervatoğlu, Mayor of Rize Fındıklı, and the artist Şevket Çoruh. İmamoğlu’s father, Hasan İmamoğlu, also accompanied him at the opening. The opening speeches at the event, titled “New Investments, New Initiatives,” were delivered by the relatives of the individuals whose names were given to certain units within the center, individuals who were well-known to the public and have been lost.

Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center Opened (5)


Funda Soysal, the daughter of the late author Sevgi Soysal, after whom the hall in which the opening took place was named, expressed her feelings by saying, “To take ownership means to value, to put in effort, to struggle, and to try to understand. My mother and father, Mümtaz Soysal, were actually people who knew the value of certain things in this country. My father and mother were imprisoned during a time when university autonomy and TRT autonomy were targeted, unfortunately falling victim to conspiracies. They got married in prison. First, it means valuing human life; not sacrificing human life to conspiracies. Second, it means writing. My mother was a writer. Writing is something that enhances and changes a person. I hope that this center will contribute to people’s development through reading and writing. My mother had an expression when she was arrested due to a conspiracy: ‘If people are being arrested for such reasons, there will be no possibility of civilized life in this country.’ We need to wholeheartedly embrace civilized life. Even if those who they value do not fully align with our values, freedom means this. I hope we live in a country where thought freedom, freedom of expression, and the freedom of artists are given due attention. Emotionally, we would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Mayor Murat Çalık and Uncle Ekrem, who have always been with us on behalf of my family and the families of the Çorlu train tragedy victims.”


Esra Kazancıbaşı Öztekin, the wife of the late artist Rasim Öztekin, after whom the City Theaters Beylikdüzü Yakuplu Stage was named, said in her speech, “First of all, I would like to say something that Rasim couldn’t say to Mr. Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. And I would like to say something that comes from my heart as his wife. I’m not only talking about a master who dedicated his years to traditional Turkish theater in Turkey but also as his wife. Rasim was such a man; he took a kavuk (a traditional Turkish theater hat) when he had a heart condition, and it progressed further. When he developed a rhythm disorder, he said, ‘I don’t want to carry this kavuk anymore. Because I can’t do theater anymore. It’s meaningless. I want to hand it over.’ The pandemic arrived, and he couldn’t hand it over. He lost sleep over it. Contrary to the political party leaders, sports club presidents, and association presidents who have occupied their positions for years in Turkey, Rasim could have carried the kavuk if he had wanted to. He wanted to hand it over. In those sleepless nights and during the pandemic, Mr. Ekrem İmamoğlu took care of Turkish traditional theater in Istanbul, the kavuk in Istanbul, and the handover ceremony of the kavuk. Rasim said, ‘It was a kavuk handover ceremony beyond my dreams.’ I want to express this gratitude here in front of everyone, something he couldn’t say. I wish he were alive and could say it to you.

Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center Opened (4)


The name of Oğuz Arda Sel, who tragically lost his life along with his father Hakan Sel in a train accident in Çorlu on July 8, 2018, at the age of 9, was given to the Children’s Library within the center. Fatih Sel, the uncle of the late Arda Sel, said, “As we commemorate with love, longing, and mercy the 25 lives, 8 of them children, who lost their lives on July 8, 2018, as a result of incompetent management and negligence, I would like to extend greetings and love from my family and the Çorlu train tragedy families to you all. I kindly ask you to accept it. We have been living in Beylikdüzü for over 20 years. My older brother was more of a Beylikdüzü local than me. Arda spent his entire short life here. While many of you may have been having picnics in Yaşam Vadisi, he might have knocked over your tables with his ball. I apologize for that. He has memories everywhere. For us, visiting this place was both beautiful and difficult, to be honest. I wish you had known Arda like this. I wish you had known Arda as Galatasaray’s star, as Galatasaray’s captain; but it didn’t happen. Now he is resting side by side with his father in Uzunköprü. I wish for a country where children’s right to life is not stolen, where our hearts and noses don’t tremble when children’s names are mentioned, a happy, hopeful, peaceful country for all of us. I would like to express my infinite gratitude on behalf of my family and the Çorlu families to Mr. Mayor Murat Çalık Beyefendi and Uncle Ekrem for always being by our side.


The emotional intensity in the hall reached its peak with the words of Fatma Tay, the mother of Neslican Tay, who, despite overcoming cancer three times, left us in 2019 at the young age of 21 due to the same illness. Thanking İmamoğlu and Çalık for naming the Youth Center inside the facility after her late daughter’s name, Mother Tay said: “There are two wonderful people looking at me; Mr. Çalık, Mr. İmamoğlu. Neslican had a saying: ‘I am not just a leg; I am much more than that.’ Yes, indeed, Neslican was not just a leg. She was much more. Unfortunately, not everyone saw that, but there are beautiful hearts that did. Mr. İmamoğlu, I have a memory of you. The night I lost Neslican, Mr. İmamoğlu was with me. He held my hand. He patted my head. Because my child loved him very much. On the night he won the election, my child, with just one leg, put on Mr. İmamoğlu’s mask on top of her leg and danced until I don’t know what time. ‘My dear, sit down, you’re sick…’ ‘No, mom,’ she said, ‘He won.’ With that faith, you are truly different. Your hearts touched each other; his to you and yours to him. You are very special people who have earned the prayers and love of an angel. I feel this in my heart. And I’m sure you will go to much better places. Here in our Culture Center, for our Neslican, by telling her story to all the young people, the educators, the teachers working in the education community, and anyone who volunteers when disaster strikes and you have to fight with illness… Thousands of people are still inspired by my child’s videos. She was a real angel, Mr. İmamoğlu, you know. She was a real angel chosen by my Lord, and it was my humble privilege to have her in Turkey. We completed our fourth year last month. She still lives on in our hearts and continues to touch us. To Mr. Çalık and Mr. İmamoğlu, two kind-hearted people like you, I kiss your beautiful hearts for keeping my child alive. Thank you very much.

Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center Opened (3)


The name of Nuri Ulusu, who took his place in history as the librarian of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was also given to the library inside the center. The son of the late Ulusu, who was a writer, expressed his feelings with the words, “I thank our very valuable Mayor Murat Çalık and also my close friend, brother, Mr. Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who opened this very valuable Cultural Center and its library inside. It’s indeed a very valuable work. I visited, saw, was proud.


Emphasizing his happiness at bringing such a work to the Yakuplu District of Beylikdüzü, where he has lived for many years and served as the former mayor, İmamoğlu thanked Beylikdüzü Mayor Mehmet Murat Çalık for the collaboration. İmamoğlu underlined that they walk the path of providing equal service to all 39 districts of Istanbul and emphasized the importance of the opening being held on the 100th anniversary of Istanbul’s liberation from enemy occupation. İmamoğlu, who expressed his satisfaction at preserving the names of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who conquered Istanbul, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who liberated the city from enemy occupation, in Beylikdüzü, said, “We are talking about a city that was occupied for almost 5 years. Who can imagine that Istanbul, not for 5 years, but for 5 seconds? We can’t imagine it. Therefore, the combination of these two names is actually underneath our careful choice.”

Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center Opened (2)


İmamoğlu stated that he has known Kemal Ulusu, the son of Nuri Ulusu, Atatürk’s librarian, for many years and made the following statements about the names given to certain units: “I got to know Neslican Tay through her videos. Then, when we lost her, I realized that there was an incredible connection between us. I felt it. So, when I heard it from her relatives, our grief increased even more. Her name will live on here. Yes, I was ‘Uncle Ekrem’ to Arda, indeed. Because I remember his long-haired version in the valley. He was a very special child. We lost a child of ours. The name Sevgi Soysal is a very special name in terms of the women’s struggle with what she wrote and left us. And Rasim Öztekin. A special artist, a special person. We had communicated our beautiful feelings to each other. Today, we have added a very special hall in Beylikdüzü with his name. But in fact, the name Rasim Öztekin brought something more. He actually gave our city a City Theatres stage in the far west. Here, there is a City Theatres stage of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Therefore, each of them has a special story, each of them has a special moment.


Making observations about the past political inclinations of the Yakuplu District where the center is located, İmamoğlu said, “When we used to walk through Yakuplu, we used to talk about how people here gave us very few votes. I won’t even mention the percentage, it was very low. ‘You will see, we will win the hearts of the people here. Actually, the vote is not that important. First, win the hearts of the people, the rest will follow,’ I said, and we opened a Solidarity House on a street, a little further away. It was in the first months of my district presidency, at the end of 2019. ‘Let there be a place here like our home, and let’s tell our people about ourselves and our services,’ we said. From that day on, perhaps to the district of Beylikdüzü, which was said to have given us the least votes, we tried to become the most interested political identity. Because I have a habit. Sometimes I tell people about this. When I go by bus during elections, when I greet people, if someone looks at me as if they are angry, I can feel it from their eyes, I feel it, and sometimes I stop the bus and say, ‘Why do you feel bad about me, come on, let’s talk,’ I think, ‘I can convince them in 5 minutes.’ Because I swear to God; not a single person living in this city or this country should have a bad thought about me. Because I started this journey by saying, ‘I will be a leader who thinks about the goodness of each and every one of them.’”

In his speech, İmamoğlu, who said, “Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul, which many commanders and people wanted to conquer,” completed his speech with the following words:
“Others couldn’t conquer it, but he did. His special quality was actually this: Fatih Sultan Mehmet didn’t do what the previous losers did; he changed things. He achieved a change in mentality among people, a change in the way of struggle with his commanders, by sitting down with them, by changing their ideas, and by changing the way they fought together with their soldiers. At the age of 21, he conquered Istanbul with that change. We also have an obligation to find a way and method to win hearts. We need to contribute together to make the political arena, which has become discredited in the country, regain its prestige, and it is necessary for our nation and for all of us to do so. Because the conquest of this period is the conquest of hearts. To win hearts, we need to put forward a reputable politics and a service style that keeps up with the times. In this sense, I would like to announce once again to our Beylikdüzü people and to all of Istanbul that the fundamental philosophy of our journey will be this, and our meticulous work to never let our people down will continue. I wish our Cultural Arts Center to be auspicious for our district and our city.
In his speech, Çalık shared the following information by stating that Talip Apaydın’s wife donated the books of the late writer to the center, which preserves such a valuable treasure for future generations and brings it together with our neighbors: “Talip Apaydın’s library, which preserves and shares such a valuable treasure with our neighbors, will also serve here. It will include Beylikdüzü Children’s Cinema, Beylikdüzü Children’s Council, İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s lifelong education with a new approach, Enstitü İstanbul İSMEK workshops, and our esteemed Metropolitan Municipality Mayor’s Yuvamız İstanbul and Children’s Activity Center, which started with the ‘150 nurseries’ project to provide education and equal opportunities for all children. There will be Beylikdüzü Cultural Seminars, a Sports Center that will be used by both women and men, a closed market area with 424 stalls, and a closed parking lot for 100 cars. Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center is more than just a cultural center; it’s a life complex. Actually, there’s no need to talk about the facility in detail. It needs to be experienced. I invite our neighbors to experience the facility. It’s not to be described; it’s to be lived.” After the speeches, Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cultural and Arts Center was officially inaugurated with the cutting of the ribbon. İmamoğlu and his accompanying delegation conducted inspections at the center under the intense interest of the citizens.

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