Visiting Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta unveiled a commemorative plaque dedicated to Romanian Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and his four sons at Yedikule Museum on Tuesday during an official ceremony also attended by Istanbul vice governor.
'It is a really extraordinary moment for our common history and I want to also thank for the personal support that Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan has offered this project that relates our common history. Our two peoples have a common history spanning nearly 700 years, a history that saw many good things and also many wars and much confrontation. The more so am I happy today to see that we are united by a common history, culture, economic relations and an extraordinary relation between the two countries. For the Romanian people, ruler Constantin Brancoveanu represents more than a tragic side of history. Today we make an historic gesture of reconciliation with history and of assuming our common history', the prime minister said.
Ponta underscored that Brancoveanu, who ruled Wallachia over 1688-1714, for the Romanians means first and foremost a ruler who had tried to modernize his country for a quarter of a century and to survive in an extremely complicated political climate.
'Twenty-five years of rule in a small country between big empires certainly was not an easy time at all, and his tragic death together with his family merely mirrors the difficulties of those times. Beyond his political activity, Brancoveanu founded an architectural and cultural style in Romania that bears his name. He was a prince who supported school and education .(...) St Paraskeva Church located here, in Istanbul, where Romanian priests still officiate today, was re-built by the efforts of Prince Brancoveanu', Ponta said.
The prime minister pointed out that the common history of Romania and Turkey offers extraordinary times, as he recalled that in 2004, then-Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase had received from his Turkish counterpart a replica of the sword of another great Romanian ruler, Stephen the Great.
'It was a gift from the Government of Turkey on 500 years since the death of Prince Stephen. Next year we will mark 300 years since the death of Prince Brancoveanu. Next year will be Brancoveanu Year for us, for Romania, a year when there will be numerous events to pay homage to those times and the things having been left in Romania in terms of history, culture and architecture. I want to once again thank the Turkish authorities for the fact we actually anticipate this Brancoveanu Year by this gesture of assuming the common history', he added.
The Romanian premier said he will be the more happy to address the best wishes for the National Day of Turkey on this day, amid his participation in another historic event, 'the opening of the railway tunnel linking Asia to Europe'.
At the end of the ceremony, the Romanian head of Government laid a bouquet of white roses bound in the Romanian tricolor ribbon at the pedestal on which the Constantin Brancoveanu commemorative plaque stands.
The plaque has written on it the following text in Romanian, Turkish and English as agreed by the Romanian and Turkish foreign ministries: 'To the memory of Ruler Constantin Brancoveanu and his four sons, who were imprisoned in Yedikule prison in early 18th century far away from their beloved motherland and to the unending remembrance of the common history of the Romanian and Turkish peoples'.
Attending the event for the Turkish side was Istanbul Vice Governor Kazim Tekin. He addressed the Romanian prime minister the warmest greetings and stressed the event dedicated to the Romanian ruler coincides with an extremely important moment for Turkey, the launch of what he said is for the Ankara Government 'the project of the century, Marmaray tunnel'.
Ponta was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin and Romanian ambassador in Ankara Radu Onofrei.AGERPRES