Prizes for paintings on the friendship between Turkey and India were handed out on Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara.
“Each painting was incredibly beautiful. You are such amazingly talented children. For me, everyone is a winner,” said Sanjay Bhattacharyya, India’s ambassador to Turkey, speaking at the award ceremony.
The embassy organized the painting contest in April, open for schoolchildren from Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, and Bursa to enter.
Stating that this was the first year of the contest, Bhattacharyya said over 1,450 children from 106 schools in four cities took part.
He added that the paintings proved that children taking part in the contest did “a lot of research” to find out about India.
“It also showed how much you love India and how much you love your own country, Turkey,” he added.
Saying that India has a richly dynamic and diverse society, he invited children to make Indian friends through social media or letters.
“I would like each of you to get an Indian friend, maybe even on social media, and exchange your ideas with your friend,” he said, adding that the children could be “true ambassadors” for both countries.
“Turkey considers India a friendly country advancing confidently towards becoming a global power with its growing economy, rich human resources, deep-rooted history, and cultural heritage,” Yusuf Buyuk, in charge of secondary education at Turkey’s Education Ministry and the event’s guest of honor, also told the ceremony.
Buyuk also said the event strengthens friendship between the two countries, while allowing children to show India as they see and imagine it.
The prizes were handed out following a colorful dance show by Bollywood Dance Group, which came to Turkey to perform in the event.
The first, second, third, and two consolation prizes went to entries from Ankara and Antalya for elementary, middle school, high school, and special needs students.
The grand prize of tickets for two to India — one each for Ankara and Antalya — were handed out by drawing lots among the first prize winners.
Monday’s event distributed prizes to the winners in Ankara and Antalya. The second round of the ceremony will be held in Istanbul on Tuesday for entrants from Istanbul and Bursa.
The prize-winning paintings were also displayed at the venue in Ankara.
The event was co-organized with Turkey’s Education Ministry, Tourism and Culture Ministry, and Foreign Ministry and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.