Helmstedter Partnerschaftsverein

Konakli (Türkei)

On 8th September 2008 Helmstedt could sign the official twinning certificate to Konakli, it’s 8th and youngest twin town and this was the first Turkish town twinned to a community in Lower Saxony.

Through the signature of the twinning certificate to a Turkish town, both council and citizens did not only document  that such a twinning between a Turkish and a German town can be thriving, but set also a sign to the 800 Turks living in Helmstedt, that the mutual understanding of German and Turkish fellow citizens  shall be further fostered and deepened. Further this twinning is another step to the peaceful coexistence of diverse nations.

Regional importance

Konakli is located approximately 130 km east of Antalya, 12 km outside Alanya and has about 28.000 inhabitants.

It has been proofed scientificly, that the settlement was founded in the year 1100. The Selcuken-Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat lodged in the area in order to union Alanya to the Selcuken capital Konya. Until the times of the Sadrazam Talap Pasa the village was named Sarapsa. Later Talatiye and since 1992 Konakli.

Beside tourism  vegetable gardening directs the economical life. One can enjoy a sunny holiday with lots of calmness and dreamlike sunsets. The sport enthusiasts are also well kept. Near Konakli the antique fortress Alarahan is situated and also the caravanserai that was built as a shelter for the caravans. There are plenty of sights in the suroundings of Konakli such as bays, stalactite caves, the Keykubat monument etc.

Chronology of this twinning

On 29th November a first delegation from Helmstedt around initiator Fatma Sönmez, councillor and representative for integration within the AWO (organizsation for worker’s welfare), flew to Konakli. Mayor Abdullah Sönmez extended a warm welcome to her and her fellow travellers  Horst-Dieter Arendt, Uwe Strümpel, Wolfgang Kalisch, Dr. Karl Birker, Margrit Niemann, Sybille Mattfeld-Kloth, Hauke Franke und Achim Barchmann.

During a first three day stay in Konakli this group got lots of impressions of the town, visited Alanya and it’s surroundings, the christian cemetery in Alanya as well as  the German-Turkish Society – and did a lot of preparatory work for the twinning.

As a result the council passed a resolution to enter into a twinning to Konakli and in September 2008 a delegation from Konakli came to sign the protocol commonly with the Helmstedters on 8th September 2008.

The idea to enter into a twinning to a Turkish town came into being in the intercultural forum of the AWO branch Helmstedt – most of the imigrants living in Helmstedt origin from Turkey. Exploratory talks via the Turkish Embassador in Berlin, the appropriate consulate in Hannover as well as diverse discussions in different committees finally led to a survey by the local press, which showed a very positive attitude among Helmstedt’s citizens towards a twinning to a Turkish town.

In between the twinning lives beside official delegations at first from the school exchange and youth exchange (Wichern-School, Julianum-School, youth football teams). All who are interested in the exchange are welcome to take part.