- mayor's office
A group of Afghan cyclists carrying messages of peace, who set off from Afghanistan and visited 4 countries covering a distance of 4,000 kilometers on their bicycles with the purpose of strengthening bonds of friendship and solidarity, were welcomed at the World Peace Park in Beşiktaş on Wednesday, June 12 by the citizens, a large group of Afghan community living in Istanbul, the Özgür Pedallar (Free Pedals) Association, the Consul General of Afghanistan in Istanbul Mr. Zekria Barakzai, Beşiktaş City Council Member Ms. Esra Yenidünya, staff members of the Beşiktaş Municipality and some press members.
The event served dual purpose – both giving messages of peace and fellowship and promoting the commercial Lapis Lazuli Route*.
In his speech, the Consul General Mr. Barakzai made an emphasis on the historical and current fellowship between Turkey and Afghanistan and extended his thanks to the Beşiktaş Municipality for hosting this meaningful event.
Attending the event in representation of the Beşiktaş Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat, the Beşiktaş City Council Member Ms. Yenidünya offered flowers of congratulation to the cyclists coming from Afghanistan and said: “The Lapis Lazuli Route, which connects Afghanistan and our country through the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, will be marked not only as a trade route but also a route of love and friendship. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has turned their struggle of independence they have been trying for years to a struggle of freedom and modernity now. We are honored and proud to further strengthen our bonds with our fellow state Afghanistan that we have had since our War of Independence under the leadership of the founder of our Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Hosting this event in Beşiktaş made us really happy and honored. I have also brought you warm regards from our Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat.”
The event ended with a family photo.
* Lapis Lazuli Route, named after the brilliant blue semi-precious stone commonly found in Afghanistan, begins in the Afghan settlements of Aqina and finishes at the gateway to Europe in Istanbul. It was signed among Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on November 15, 2017. Signed as a regional trade route, it is one of the most important projects of the Afghan government. The purpose of the Project is to create the shortest route for Afghanistan to reach out to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The Lapis Lazuli Route Project is aimed at reducing the time and cost spent for the transfer of the export goods from the other countries in the region.