TURKEY started its first aviation adventure 106 years ago, during the First World War in Yeşilköy. However, the main initiative was carried out in 1925 and the first plane took off from Istanbul Yeşilköy in 1933 and landed in Ankara as a result of the efforts of the Turkish Airplane Society that was founded in Istanbul Yeşilköy. Coinciding with the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, this flight had definitely a symbolic meaning.
On 29 October 2018, the Turkey celebrated its 95th year with remarkable events, on top of that the opening of the world’s biggest airport in Istanbul was realized at the 95th anniversary of Turkey.
The presidents and the politicians of many countries witnessed the historical day by attending the opening ceremony of the Istanbul Airport of which the constructions started in the second half of 2014 and the first phase finished in a very short time like 3,5 years. Valuable guests from politics, arts, sports and business world took their places at the opening ceremony of the new airport, as well as the President of the Republic of Albania Ilir Meta, the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, the President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akıncı, the President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov, the President of the Republic of Moldovia Igor Dodon, the President of Pakistani Islamic Republic Arif Alvi, the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, the President of Sudan the Field Marshall Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Prime Minister) Denis Zvizdic, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Infrastructure of Slovenia Alenka Bratusek, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Muhammed Cevad Zarif, the President of the Gagauz Sovereign Region of the Republic of Moldovia Irina Vlah.
Because of the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the President of Grand National Assembly of Turkey Binali Yıldırım started the opening ceremony by saying “We are experiencing the pride of crowning the 95th year of the Republic that symbolizes our independence with such a magnificent edifice” and invited the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the stage.
President Erdoğan addressed the guests with enthusiasm on the platform that was designed as the miniature of the tulip figure of the 90 meters high traffic control tower of the airport with architecture award.
The President Erdoğan seemed content because of bringing Istanbul and Turkey in this magnificent edifice. In fact, as well as the opening of the airport, President Erdoğan referred experiencing the pride of the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic all together and celebrated the Republic Day. When President Erdoğan expressed his appreciations to the guest presidents of states and governments, ministers, representatives of countries and international organizations for sharing this significant day with Turkey, he received a vigorous applause.
President Erdoğan stated that Istanbul is not only the biggest city but also the most precious brand of Turkey and added as “The edifice that we built in this invaluable city, that’s why we named it ‘Istanbul ’.”
Also saying that when Istanbul Airport comes into service in its full capacity, Atatürk Airport in Yeşilköy will be closed for commercial flights while keeping its airport function, President Erdoğan gave the answer to the question of “what is going to be the name of the new airport” by saying “Both for aviation fairs and for some other activites, Atatürk Airport will keep having the same name. The areas of Atatürk Airport that will not be used for these activities will be open to the use of the people of Istanbul as People’s Garden, as we promised. However, if God permits, we will turn the existing indoor areas into the biggest fair of our Istanbul and Turkey. Therefore, that place will be named as Atatürk Airport, this place will be named as Istanbul Airport.”
President Erdoğan said the first phase of the project that consists of four phases will be in the capacity of 90 million passengers and when the whole phases are completed, the capacity will scale up to 150 million and this could be raised up to 200 million, if needed. Pointing out that geographically Turkey, especially Istanbul has been in a strategic location throughout the history, President Erdoğan said “By means of putting Istanbul Airport into service, Turkey has become the most important transit center between the north-south and east-west axis. In the immense area that it addresses, our airport will interconnect 60 countries and 20 trillion dollars of economies.”
Expressing that by means of putting Istanbul Airport into service, the European air space must be restructured, President Erdoğan manifested the vision of Istanbul Airport by saying “After today, Istanbul will be the most important transfer point, so the destinations of the intercontinental flights will be changed mostly.”
President Erdoğan called for building a prosperous future together to all friendly nations in our region and in the world and finished his speech as: “Let’s open the doors leading to love, peace, solidarity; not leading to hostilities, wars, miseries, oppressions. Let’s give all together the good news of a promising world to children, innocents, oppressed and to all humanity. If God permits, our Istanbul Airport will bring people together, let people know each other, make the hearts prosperous by enhancing love. I hope it will be a beneficent work for our country, for our region and for the world.”
The first flight from the new airport was carried out on 31 October 2018 from Istanbul to Ankara, the first international flights to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.