ANKARA - The Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) on Thursday unveiled a National Press Club in the Turkish capital of Ankara, not only making a full comeback but is also expanding its presence in Turkiye with a new press club, BTA Director General Kiril Valchev said.
Valchev said BTA is planning to have such press clubs in all neighboring countries, as well as in countries with large Bulgarian communities. Ankara is the fifth - after Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia), Bucharest (Romania), Bosilegrad (Serbia) and Taraclia (Moldova).
"A changed BTA has returned to Ankara after 30 years on the day that a century ago Ataturk returned to Turkiye from Bulgaria," Valchev said in his remarks at the opening event.
In her own message, Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Iotova likened BTA to colour X-ray image of the world around us.
Also attending the opening event were Bulgaria's Ambassador to Turkiye Angel Cholakov, Bulgaria's Consul General in Istanbul Vassil Valchev, the Consul General in Edirne Borislav Dimitrov, Bulgarian National Radio Director General Milen Mitev and Anadolu Agency Director Serdar Karagoz.
A documentary exhibition of the Bulgarian Archives State Agency dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was unveiled on the sidelines of the opening of the BTA National Press Club, showing photographs and documents of the time that the founding father of the Republic of Turkiye spent in Sofia between Oct. 27, 1913 and Feb. 2, 1915.
BTA's Ankara correspondent is Nora Cholakova.
In addition to the five overseas press clubs, BTA also has one on the Bulgarian military research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii, which set sail for Antarctica on Dec. 27, 2022.
Opening new press clubs is part of the Agency's policy under the brand BTA National Press Club. The goal is to establish them as places for communication between media and representatives of business, politics, culture and sport. Press conferences, discussions, exhibitions, and other events are organized there, during which institutions, organisations and citizens can send messages and make announcements.
BTA Director general Kiril Valchev thanked Bulgarian Ambassdor to Turkiye, Angel Cholakov, and the team at the embassy in the Turkish capital for helping BTA have a permanent correspondent and a press club in Ankara even at the beginning of a year when Turkiye will mark the centenary of the republic.
"BTA's press clubs are not only correspondents' offices and news conference halls, but also places where Bulgaria is presented with events like the one being opened today, the documentary exhibition of the Bulgarian State Archives, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Sofia (October 27, 1913 - February 2, 1915)," Valchev said.
"The archival photos and documents show that Ataturk was not only the leader who changed Turkiye, but he was also a person with a significant role in changing the relations between Bulgarians and Turks after centuries of opposition. As he himself said in 1931, he would never forget the pleasant moments he had spent in Bulgaria. He was adamant that he would always remain a friend of the Bulgarian people whom he loved with all his heart even as a child. Ataturk was equally convinced that Turkiye and Bulgaria should be friends," he added.
"It is precisely as good neighbours that the Turkiye changed by Ataturk and free Bulgaria should do everything possible to know each other better, to help each other, not allow alienation and respect each one's differences," he said.
"So let's hope that in the new BTA Press Club there will be many meetings of like-minded people who turn to each other with 'Askolsun!'," he said.
Vice President Iotova said for 125 years now, BTA has been offering a colour X-ray image of Bulgaria, the Balkans, Europe and the whole world.
"It shows the world to Bulgaria and Bulgaria to the world," she said.
She pointed out that the Ankara press club is one of many that the Bulgarian News Agency has opened abroad. She wished the BTA team to make it "a true cultural institution."
"High professionalism has remained BTA's brand to this day," Iotova said.
She pointed out the symbolism in the timing of the opening of the new press club: this year will mark the 125th anniversary of BTA and the centenary of the Republic of Turkiye.
"It is important to have peace, friendship and understanding in the Balkans and the countries that share a border," Iotova said.
The Vice President brought a painting of a Bulgarian woman as a gift to the Press Club for its opening.
Bulgarian Ambassador to Turkiye Angel Cholakov called the new BTA Press Club in Ankara "the second home of Bulgaria at the heart of the Turkish capital".
He mentioned the facility's symbolic location on Ataturk Boulevard and the symbolism of the opening date: the same day when Ataturk left Bulgaria where he was a military attache.
"Today is the date of birth of the national press club but how it will grow up and develop, is up to us all: our ideas, proposals, ambitions," the Ambassador added.
Anadolu Agency General Director Serdar Karagoz expects further fruitful cooperation with the Bulgarian News Agency.
"The Anadolu Agency was founded in Ankara exactly 103 years ago. It's a great pleasure for us that exactly 103 years later BTA is opening an office here in Ankara. The two countries are very close and by that I don't mean only the geographical aspect of things. We are also close culturally and our historical links are sustainable," Karagoz added. "It's time to bring the two communities even closer to each other."
Karagoz pointed out that with the opening of this press club in Ankara the relations between the two countries will become even better and closer.
He said that the cooperation between the two agencies is based on an agreement for exchange of information on a daily basis. (BTA)