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Sunday, 8 February 2009

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Turkish don's visit here favourable for tourism

Last week when we went to interview Prof. Orhan Kural at his hotel a three member crew from a television station was present at the conference hall. While the TV cameraman was adjusting his camera, Prof. Dr. Orhan Kural walked into the room with his Turkish delegation.

He appeared to be a man between 65-70 and his delegation consisted of 36 members both men and women.

A globetrotter who had travelled to 290 countries during the last few decades, a record unsurpassed by others. Bitten by the travel bug he ventured into travelling almost four decades ago, he said.

Who knows whether his name will be in the Guiness Book of Records as the most travelled man in the world. This was his third visit to Sri Lanka. His first visit was in the 90s' where he carried away memorable memories with him. He vouched to come back again because he liked the country and her people, he said.

Prof. Kural has written four articles on Sri Lanka to several magazines which were published in Turkey. During the past three years he has spent a considerable time, writing to Turkish newspapers about his travels abroad. "I have been allocated a half page in a Turkish newspaper to write my travels," he claimed. His arrival here is bound to attract Turkish tourists to Sri Lanka in a big way.

Asked whether Turkish tourists would travel to Sri Lanka, when they hear about the country, he said he was optimistic that more and more people will come to Sri Lanka.

He said there is a remarkable similarity between Turkey and Sri Lanka. There have been clashes between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish Army where several Turkish Army personnel were killed in the past. The situation in Sri Lanka is no different to that of Turkey where the Army is battling the rebels. A humanitarian by nature, he gave up eating flesh and became a vegetarian four years ago." Not very many people in Turkey are vegetarians." A non smoker who is averse to those who smoke, he never hider his feelings about smokers. "I hate those who smoke. There are many people in Turkey who smoke," he admitted

Referring to people he said, it does not matter who they were or their caste, creed or religious beliefs. Such things are not important in today's context in classifying people. He was against discrimination of people, he stressed.

While on a visit to the Southern Province the Professor came across a blind dog at a temple. He was so sad seeing the plight of the dog, but was happy when he realised that some Buddhist priests were taking care of the animal. He had donated cash to the temple to look after the dog. "I like Sri Lanka because people are close to nature. They live together with their pet animals like cats, dogs and elephants." He said he hates hunters because they destroy the life on planet. The elephant population in Sri Lanka has dwindled due to hunting. Who had killed them?, he asked

Prof. Kural is the Honourary Consul of the Republic of Benin, President of Turkish Travellers Club and also the Head of the Department of the Mining Division of the Istanbul Technical University. He has also written a comprehensive volume on coal mining. "It took 13 years for me to complete this book. I want to present this book as a gift to the Government of Sri Lanka," he said.

Consultant Neurologist Dr. Githanjan Mendis said at the press briefing that he was impressed by Prof. Kural's travels to 190 countries. According to Guiness Book of Records there wasn't a person who has covered so many kilometres on travel. As the Head of the Sports Medicine Section in Sri Lanka he said he would submit Dr. Kural's application to the Guiness Book of World Records. "Unlike in the past it has become easier to submit an application via on line," he said. His visit here is bound to attract Turkish tourists when he writes in the Turkish newspapers about Sri Lanka, when he gets back home.

 

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