By Ferdi Turkten
ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency's director general greeted the winners of the Photos of the Year contest on Tuesday.
Senol Kazanci welcomed Behcet Alkan, the winner of the news category with his photo Turkish Soldiers Get Kids to Smile in Ras al-Ayn, and Huseyin Yildiz, the winner of the Life category with his photo White Walk.
Deputy Director General and Editor-in-Chief Metin Mutanoglu and Deputy Director General Mustafa Ozkaya also attended the event at the headquarters in capital Ankara.
Mustafa Yalcin, another winner of the Sports category with his photo Salute from Turkish National Team Players, could not attend the program due to health issues.
On Dec. 5, Anadolu Agency photojournalist Yalcin was injured in the eye when a gas canister used by the security forces hit him in the face, breaking his mask while covering the protests in France.
Kazanci said that the photojournalists won the awards which garnered a high level of participation.
Referring to Alkan’s photo, Kazanci said it was also used in the agency’s 2020 almanac.
Alkan said, “In this photo, there was the sincerity of a child hugging the soldier and the brightness in her eyes. I think, that is how it got the attention [of the voters].”
- White Walk in eastern Turkey
Yildiz said that he took the photo of the students who went to school braving heavy snow on Mt. Aras, located in eastern Igdir and Agri provinces. Yildiz recalled that he used to go to school in similar conditions.
Kazanci said that Yildiz’s photo had the uncanny ability to tell something new each time somebody looks at it.
Mutanoglu said that about 280,000 people, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voted for the photos.
“The jury does not consist of 8-10 people. It is a vote across Turkey,” Mutanoglu said.
“I think this makes the photos and the work of our photojournalists even more valuable,” he added.
Ozkaya said the photojournalists are considered “nameless heroes".
“Abdulkadir Nisanci also lost his life to get the photos, to make news in those difficult conditions. We wish him mercy from God,” Ozkaya said.
Anadolu Agency journalist Nisanci died in an unfortunate event while he was on duty.
Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s premier news outlet, held its first Photo of the Year contest in 2012. This year, 50 images were selected from more than 750,000 photos from various parts of the world, including Syria, Palestine, Russia, Germany, and Spain.
The images were put to a vote.
Last year, nearly a quarter of a million people took part in the voting.
* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur