The world’s most powerful countries reached their elevated status through cultural power rather than armies, Turkey’s president said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the annual Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Awards ceremony in the capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said culture is a symbol of a nation's independence.
Erdogan said that today the culture industry has reached such a level that no sector of society is unaffected by it.
"Over the last 16 years, Turkey has achieved very great revolutions in democracy and economy, but unfortunately it has been unable to cover the distance we desired in education and culture policies," he said, referring to the years his Justice and Development (AK) Party has been in power.
Erdogan said art is related to personal efforts and creativity and that the mission of the state is to provide the proper atmosphere for that.
"Hopefully, in the new era, together we will take much bigger steps in this direction," Erdogan added.
The 2018 awards were given to Professor Mehmet İpsirli in the field of history and social sciences, to Turker Inanoglu in filmmaking, to Erol Sayan in music, and to Izzet Keribar in art and photography.
The Fidelity Award went to the late Mehmet Akif Ersoy, who wrote the lyrics of Turkey’s national anthem, and accepted by Selma Argon, Ersoy's granddaughter, on his behalf.