GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AA): The underwater city of Halfeti in southeastern Turkey’s Şanlıurfa has been in the news recently thanks to underwater photographs capturing the city’s green and blue magnificence that are now exhibited in Italy under the umbrella of “Mesopotamia,” promoting the region for better touristic activity.
Within the scope of the project prepared by Ipekyolu Development Agency (IKA), many underwater photographers, namely Tunç Emre Karakoyunlu, Yavuz Pilevneli and Mehmet Öztabak, were invited to the Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa to contribute to the tourism of the region.
Diving to view the old Halfeti, which was submerged with the construction of the Atatürk and Birecik dams, they photographed tombstones, wells, houses and trees among the blue.
The exhibition opened in Italy yesterday under the name “Mesopotamia,” aiming to promote the region with underwater photographs presented to art lovers.
Burhan Akyılmaz, secretary-general of IKA, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they started working to promote nine provinces in the Southeastern Anatolia Region under the brand name of “Mesopotamia” in cooperation with development agencies under the coordination of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Akyılmaz stated that they aimed to increase the recognition of the region, especially to target markets, with the “Mesopotamia” brand.
“In this context, we invited members of the international press, tour operators and travel agencies from different countries to our region. We both promoted our region and brought together travel agencies and tour operators in our region with these stakeholders.”
Noting that they hosted 20 travel agencies from five different countries in the region last week, including travel agencies of Scandinavian countries, Akyılmaz stated that after this work, four Scandinavian travel agencies decided to organize nine-day tours in the region beginning in September.
Akyılmaz mentioned that they opened a photography exhibition in Italy as part of their efforts to promote the region.
“Our aim in this exhibition is to introduce the underwater beauties of our region, especially with the construction of Atatürk and Birecik dams, to the whole world with the photographs taken by underwater photographers. Italy was the point where we introduced the Mesopotamia brand for the first time as a European destination for us,” he said.
“An underwater documentary on Mesopotamia will also be broadcast in this exhibition. All art lovers will meet in Italy at the exhibition, which will be open for one week. We aim to introduce our Mesopotamian brand to the whole of Europe through Italy, through art and photographs.”
On why the branding was done under the word “Mesopotamia,” Akyılmaz said: “(T)he word Mesopotamia is a special brand that fully reflects the culture, cultural heritage, history, archeology, mythology and natural beauties of the region.”
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