Abkhazia Showcases Its Heritage and Products in Istanbul

ISTANBUL — The delegation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Abkhazia, led by President Tamila Mertskhulava, participated in the 'Caucasus Cultural Meetings' event, hosted by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in collaboration with civil society organisations.

The Abkhazia delegation showcased an array of domestic producers in the event's largest pavilion, highlighting their wine and non-alcoholic products. Brands such as "Wines and Waters of Abkhazia," "Chateau Abkhaz," "Argun Iashta," "Sukhum Brewery," and "Mineral Waters of Abkhazia" were prominently featured. Additionally, visitors had the opportunity to taste an assortment of local delicacies including jams, honey, smoked cheese, and the traditional ajika, along with enjoying an introduction to Abkhazian culture through Turkish-language brochures and magazines.

İstanbul Kafkas Kültür Buluşmaları, Abhazya standı

A particular highlight was the culinary representation, including an Abkhazian restaurant Sylashara, offering attendees a taste of national cuisine alongside traditional crafts, national clothing, jewelry, wooden and clay crafts, paintings, and books by national authors.

Cultural performances, dances, songs in native languages, and lectures on the history of exile to Türkiye from various ethnic groups enriched the event's program, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Caucasian heritage among attendees.

The official segment of the Meeting of Caucasian Culture was graced by the presence of the esteemed Turkish politician and current Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu. Tamila Mertskhulava, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, alongside Ibrahim Avidzba, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Abkhazia in Türkiye, had the honour of presenting Mayor Imamoglu with distinctive gifts. The Chamber gifted a coin featuring the likeness of Sergey Bagapsh, the second President of Abkhazia, adorned in silver and gold, while the Abkhazian representative office offered a coin depicting Suleyman Seba (Tsyba), the revered founder and inaugural president of the Besiktas football club.

Ekrem Imamoglu, with Abkhazian officials
Tamila Mertskhulava (left), Ibrahim Avidzba, Ekrem Imamoglu and Levent Belin (Atryshba).

The event also facilitated valuable engagements with governmental dignitaries. The Abkhaz pavilion welcomed esteemed visitors including Nail Anlar, the Deputy Governor of Istanbul; Birol Aydin, a mayoral candidate from the SAADET party; Fethi Açıkel, a member of the Istanbul city assembly from the Republican People's Party; Erdem Ercan Amichba, Chairman of the Sakarya Chamber of Commerce and Industry Council; Abidin Unal (Gechba), Retired Major General, former Commander of the Turkish Air Force; Rafet Kilic (Kylish), Retired Major General, former Turkish Chief of Operations of the Land Forces Command, and representatives from the Russian Embassy in Türkiye. Each guest was presented with gifts emblematic of Abkhazian hospitality.

Turkish Abkhazians
Retired General Abidin Ünal, former Commander of the Turkish Air Force, and Fethi Açıkel, Member of Parliament for the Republican People's Party (CHP), met with representatives of the Abkhazia Chamber of Commerce and ABHAZFED during the Caucasus Cultural Days event in Istanbul.

Throughout the meetings, Tamila Mertskhulava seized the opportunity to enlighten attendees about Abkhazia, its economic potential, and address any questions from the audience, further fostering a spirit of understanding and collaboration among the participants.

The gathering attracted significant attention, not just from local Abkhazians and students but also from Turkish officials and the media, reflecting the event's success in promoting Abkhazian culture and products.

Tamila Mertskhulava from the Abkhazia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Erdem Ercan Amichba discussed increasing the trade volume between Abkhazia and Turkey, aiming for higher income for the Abkhazian economy from this commercial relationship. Erdem Ercan Amichba will be visiting Abkhazia this summer.

A tense moment arose when the Georgian pavilion, located opposite the Abkhazian display, lodged a complaint resulting in a directive to remove all Abkhazian symbols and banners. However, a remarkable show of solidarity from other participants, who threatened to dismantle their pavilions in protest, highlighted the event's spirit of unity and cultural respect.

This incident, alongside the event's overall success, underscores the complexities and the potential for cultural diplomacy to foster dialogue and understanding among diverse communities, further elevating the significance of the cultural meet in Istanbul as a platform for promoting peace and cooperation in the region.




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