Calling the landmark building "a masterpiece," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday has officially inaugurated the Turkevi Center, or Turkish House, in New York City.
Speaking at its opening ceremony, which also featured a music concert, Erdogan said the Turkevi Center will stand as a reflection of Turkey's place on the world stage ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, in 2023.
"We are proud" of the new center, said the president.
"Because for our nation and for our state, we have now bestowed a permanent work of art. We are proud because of we are adding to the silhouette of New York, with a sterling example of our historical and traditional architecture," said Erdogan.
"I would like to extend my special gratitude to each of you for being with us on this historic day," he added. He also said the Turkevi Center is a symbol of Turkey's faith in the United Nations, along with multilateralism, justice, and peace.
Bought from American tech giant IBM in 1977, the building served as Ankara's permanent mission to the UN and consulate general until 2013, when extensive renovations began.
The president said the building will serve for decades to come as a lasting symbol of Turkey’s diplomatic success.
Among the distinguished guests who attended the inauguration at 821 First Avenue in Manhattan – a stone’s throw from UN headquarters – was Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general.
Other guests included Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar, Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as well as representatives of foreign missions.
Calling it an "enormous pleasure" to attend the inauguration of the new Turkevi Center, Guterres went on to laud Turkey’s unmatched record in hosting and helping refugees.
"I am personally familiar with the enormous generosity of Turkey and Turkish host communities towards refugees," said Guterres, adding: “I offer my sincere appreciation for your support to people in need of protection.”
'Turkey’s commitment to international solidarity'
In a pair of tweets, Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that Erdogan paved the way for the new Turkevi Center, adding that its doors are open to the people of all nations.
"President Erdogan’s determined leadership is the most important factor in the creation of this incredible new building, Turkevi,” he wrote.
“It brings together Seljukid architectural style with modern technology and is situated right across from the United Nations.
"The building is a testament to Turkey’s commitment to international solidarity & cooperation for the sake of humanity.
“Turkevi will be a home for our citizens and a center for Turkish connection to the international community. Its doors are open to all citizens of all nations.”
The landmark 35-story skyscraper houses the UN permanent mission of Turkey as well as the Turkish Consulate General.
The building, which features traditional Turkish architectural motifs, especially from the Seljuk Empire of a millennium ago, rises to the sky in the shape of a tulip and can be seen from downtown Manhattan, the East River, and as far away as Long Island.
It was designed as a symbolic skyscraper that will add to the skyline of New York, one of the world’s most iconic cities, and reflect Turkish culture, history, and diversity.