Turkish leaders have attended on Friday the opening ceremony of EXPO 2016 gardening show in the country's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.
The first EXPO of Turkey, it is also one of the largest horticultural shows around the world.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said EXPO 2016 had been accepted as a "national project" and was the result of a common will of all of Turkey. He pointed out that the universal exposition in Antalya already made history in terms of the number of participant countries.
More than 50 countries are expected to participate in the EXPO 2016, including China, Japan, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Qatar, Uganda, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Burundi,the Netherlands,Germany and Hong Kong.
"I believe it will also break a record with the number of visitors," Erdogan said.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu added such shows meant "training and entertainment for the public, branding for the host country, and introduction opportunities for the participant countries."
"We might express different opinions on an issue, and represent own our national positions; however, when it is about the environment, we have the responsibility to act as a representative of humanity."
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said EXPO 2016 Antalya had the highest number of participants after EXPO Osaka 1990 in Japan, in which included 83 countries participated.
Cavusoglu expressed pride in Turkey hosting the world fair and said all the country-themed gardens would be well preserved even after the EXPO 2016.
The 2016 World Botanic EXPO will last six months, from April to October, and will take place on a 121-hectare exhibition site.
EXPO 2016 Antalya has adopted the theme "Cultivating a Green Life for Future Generations", along with the motto “A Green Life for Future Generations".
Organisers expect that millions of tourists from both Turkey and abroad will visit the gardens and enjoy the cultural and artistic activities of EXPO 2016 Antalya, during which national and international congresses, panels, meetings and seminars will also be held.