His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon visited Turkey 25 27 November 2008 on invitation by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Crown Prince headed a delegation of representatives of the Norwegian authorities and Norwegian trade and industry. The visit began in Ankara, with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Atatürk monument.
Anıtkabir is the mausoleum built to commemorate the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The mausoleum includes the Hall of Honour, the Ceremonial Plaza and a museum documenting Atatürks life. Atatürk is buried in a sealed Tomb Room beneath the Hall of Honour. Official visits from abroad are traditionally initiated with a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument.
Prime Minister Erdoğan
After visiting Atatürks mausoleum, Crown Prince Haakon met with Prime Minister Erdoğan in his office. The evening concluded with a banquet in honour of the Norwegian delegation at the official residence of the prime minister.
Collaboration on hydropower
The following morning, 26 November, Crown Prince Haakon opened a seminar on hydropower in Ankara. The seminar was aimed at establishing contact between Norwegian and Turkish companies in the hydropower industry, with an eye to promoting Norwegian participation in developing hydropower in Turkey.
Speech on climate-related challenges
On Wednesday afternoon a seminar on climate-related challenges was held at the Middle East Technical University. This seminar brought together Turkish and Norwegian climate and alternative energy specialists. The Crown Prince gave the opening address, in which he spoke of his trip to Svalbard in June with the other heirs to the Scandinavian thrones.
In his remarks Crown Prince Haakon pointed out that while climate change poses a tremendous challenge, it also offers an historic opportunity:
The engagement of Turkey, and all of us, in this field is vital. We have to ensure that new generations can enjoy decent living standards, while at the same time ensuring environmentally sound use of resources, and clean air and water. This may be the biggest challenge that mankind has ever faced. But it may also be the greatest opportunity we have ever had to solve something together. It could be the greatest global team-building exercise in history if we handle it right.
The Crown Princes programme in Istanbul began on Wednesday evening, 26 November, with a dinner featuring Norwegian seafood at the Marmara Esma Sultan banquet venue, located on the Bosporus. Some 250 guests attended the dinner, which was hosted by the Norwegian Embassy and Innovation Norway. Turkey is an important market for Norwegian fish exports, and master chef Gunnar Hvarnes was on hand to prepare seafood delicacies for the guests.
On Thursday morning, Crown Prince Haakon opened a seminar designed to foster contact between Norwegian and Turkish maritime companies and organisations. In his speech he pointed out that the industry is facing numerous challenges and that maritime nations must collaborate to find solutions to these:
- In order to create a sustainable maritime industry worldwide, Turkey, Norway and other maritime nations must work together to encourage research, new and innovative solutions and the ability to adapt to new challenges.
After the seminar Crown Prince Haakon visited Sultanahmet, the heart of Old Istanbul, which is home to the Ottoman Sultans Topkapı Palace, the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.
The Hagia Sophia was built as a church under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, and was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the cathedral was converted into the Ayasofya Mosque. The building was made into a museum in 1935.
The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, was built between 1609 and 1616, and is the national mosque of Turkey. The mosque received its name due to the thousands of white and blue Iznik tiles that line many of the interior walls and ceilings.
Boat trip on the Bosporus
The Crown Princes visit concluded that afternoon with a boat trip on the Bosporus. The strait is a strategically important passage between the countries along the coast of the Black Sea and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and it leads to the open sea. The Bosporus is lined by ancient buildings that bear witness to the history of the Ottoman Empire.