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Novák Katalin Mancs szobrának avatásán Törökországban 2023.03.31.

Turkish-Hungarian friendship is about bravery, helpfulness and selflessness

The next one hundred years of Turkish-Hungarian friendship will also be about bravery, helpfulness and selflessness – said President of Hungary Katalin Novák in Kocaeli (formerly known as Izmit) in Türkiye on Friday, at the unveiling of the statue of Mancs, the famous rescue dog.

Katalin Novák recalled that Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relations are 100 years old today, and that Turkish-Hungarian friendship, the alliance between the two countries, became stronger through losses in history. The President of Hungary noted that Mancs, the rescue dog, is a symbol of bravery, helpfulness and selflessness.

She recalled that the Hungarian people, and the Hungarian rescue teams, came to the aid of the Turkish people immediately after the earthquake in Izmit in 1999 and recently after the February earthquake.

Mancs was the rescue dog of the rescue team Spider from Miskolc. Mancs earned his fame in the 1999 earthquake in Izmit, when a three-year-old girl was brought out from the rubble after 82 hours with his help. The President recalled that on Thursday, she met the child rescued by the team named Life-sign, 5-year-old Ahmet Yildirim, who lost both his parents and his brother in the February earthquake. Katalin Novák underlined that young Ahmet is a symbol of the miraculous, of survival, of the future. She said Ahmet's story is also an example of what is now affecting hundreds of thousands of Turkish families.

Katalin Novák announced that in the rescue efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake on February 6, a total of 167 Hungarian volunteers participated with 22 search dogs, and they saved 35 lives. More than 50,000 people in Turkey were killed in the earthquake that hit the Turkish-Syrian border.

At the ceremony, Hope, the rescue dog, laid a flower at the statue. Katalin Novák said: Hope is a very telling name, and she would like to give hope to the Turkish people.

Tahir Büyükakin, Mayor of the City of Kocaeli, emphasized that the Turkish and the Hungarian peoples are united by a common past and a strong friendship, with several cities cherishing sister city relations with one another through the present day. The mayor also mentioned that the year 2024 will be dedicated as a year of Turkish-Hungarian culture.

The mayor recalled that the rescue dog Mancs participated in the rescue operations following the earthquake in Izmit in 1999, and saved the lives of many. He then went on to add: The owner of Mancs and his colleagues hurried to the earthquake-hit areas even this February. The mayor expressed his gratitude to all those who extended a helping hand in the disasters which afflicted the Turkish people.

After the ceremony, the President of Hungary proceeded to visit the Memorial House for Imre Thököly and Ilona Zrínyi, and laid a wreath at Imre Thököly’s tomb.

Imre Thököly, Prince of Upper Hungary and Transylvania, Ilona Zrínyi's second husband and a leading figure in the struggle against the Habsburgs, was forced into exile by the Treaty of Karlóca in 1699. In 1701, his residence was designated as Izmit, then known as Nicomedia. The prince died there on 13 September 1705.

The Hungarian Head of State paid a three-day official visit to Türkiye. The MTI was informed that Hungarian Interchurch Aid provided humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye from the President’s sponsorship budget. László Lehel, Chairman of Hungarian Interchurch Aid, handed over 200 school kits as well as 200 hygiene kits to 200 families in Iskenderun during the presidential visit.