Attended by many well-known and important authorities, academicians, scientists and artists, the 1st International Eminonu Symposium was held from June 17-19, 2006. The opening ceremony on June 17th was held by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister. Eminonu Mayor Nevzat Er, Symposium's Concept Advisor İlber Ortaylı, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce's Vice President İbrahim Çağlar, Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş, the Governor of Istanbul Muammer Güler, Prof. Dr. Cengiz Eruzun and Istanbul MP Egemen Bagis also took place during the opening ceremony and protocol presentations.
In his opening speech, Egemen Bagis focused on the historical and geographical significance of Eminonu in Istanbul. Bagis noted that Eminonu has never lost his value throughout the history and that led Eminonu to involve a multilayered cultural structure. Furthermore, he mentioned that Eminonu will preserve its everlasting central position within the historical peninsula also in the future. Keeping in mind in particular the historical depth and multicultural life of Eminonu, Bagis told about their outstanding effort for Istanbul to be the European Capital of Culture. Concluding by saying that the International Eminonu Symposium is a noteworthy progress for both Eminonu and Istanbul, he also stated that this organization should act as an inspiring pioneer for such upcoming attempts.
Nevzat Er, the Eminonu mayor, also took place in the opening ceremony and in his prosperous speech, he stressed out the importance given to science, culture and historical heritage along with the development process of the city underlining the significance of Eminonu in that respect.
The organization was a primary one grabbing the immense attention. The titles of Eminonu From History Till Today, World Concept in Eminonu and Similar Regions, Eminonu's Changing Mission, City Perspective and Intellectual Responsibility, Making Administrative Boards Aware of Changing Perspectives, Living Eminonu: Our Eminonu, Culture of Living Together in Eminonu, Focuses of Eminonu were on the agenda during the international symposium.
During the 3rd workshop entitled as the World Concept in Eminonu and Similar Regions, Egemen Bagis held an informative speech about Istanbul becoming the European Capital of Culture under the heading of "Cultural City :Istanbul". Bagis, Member of the Turkish Parliament representing Istanbul, is also recognized as the Advisory Board Chairman, Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture. In his speech, he emphasized the significance and gaining of becoming Istanbul the European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Starting with civic involvement in 2000, now the movement is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Governorship of Istanbul, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and carried by the NGOs coordinated by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. Most probably, it's the first noteworthy example in Turkey, in which local and non-governmental organizations are in cooperation with the central administration. In this aspect, this project carries a European point of view. Bagis also framed the significance of team work appreciating the contributions of team spirit on their way of success.
Detailing the issue of Istanbul being European Capital of Culture, Egemen Bagis, talked about the features of Istanbul which kept it apart from other metropolises. No doubt that Istanbul, as a world city in which different civilizations live in peace with tolerance, will play a vital role using its unique heritage in establishing a collective European culture. This will be a gladsome progress for the further relations between Turkey and the European Union. Bagis underlined the comprehensive and multilayered characteristics of the project but he also added that it's impossible to be successful without the support of Istanbul citizen emphasizing the necessity of each citizen being an ‘eager participant'. Bagis also conveyed that Istanbul will have great gains in the sense of civic transformation, city planning and moreover, there will be a noticeable growth in social and cultural fields. By becoming the European Capital of Culture, the transportation and infrastructure of the city will develop; the cultural tourism will get into a vivid motion. Istanbul will be honored as being the host of such an organization which will turn out to be a conspicuous movement of the city on its way to become a brand. This project will also help improving the economic relations beneath the cultural ones and every citizen of Istanbul will taste the pride of being an Istanbul citizen.