Turkish Culture Comes to Times Square

The festivities started Sept. 27 and continue through Sunday, Oct. 4.   The festival is organized by the Turkish Cultural Center New York and supported by the Turkish-American Business Improvement & Development Council (TABID).

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All of this diversity makes for the biggest Turkish Festival in the history of the U.S.   Of course, it is all happening in the Capital of Diversity – New York City.

During the festival here, New Yorkers will experience an unforgettable week of Turkish hospitality.

Walk through custom-designed booths depicting the world famous Grand Bazaar and panorama of Istanbul; dance to the rhythms of the Ottoman Janissary Band, and experience the devotion of Whirling Dervishes.

Although I hope to retire to Sri Lanka, Turkey is the country I enjoy visiting more than any other.   Istanbul is truly incredible.   Taste it, feel it this week – here in New York!

Experience the finest Turkic and Balkan folklore performances.   Watch three contemporary Turkish movies.   Explore Turkish arts and crafts.   Taste the famous Turkish and Balkan cuisines.

The Turkish Festival in New York has become a tradition celebrated by Turkish-Americans, Turkic and Balkan nations together with American friends and families.

Last year, more than 25,000 people – most of whom were non-Turkish – visited the Festival in Central Park and tasted its famous Turkish cuisine.

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The famous Turkish whirling dervishes will be dancing up a storm in New York this week.

My son Mathew and I look forward to this city’s Puerto Rican Day Parade – and now Turkish Cultural Days.

Today there was a special program on Times Square.   The theme was the “Parade of Anatolian Civilizations.”   This event was supported by the Times Square Alliance.

“Anatolian Civilizations on Times Square” featured presentations by kings and queens with custom designed costumes along with symbolic tags and informative brochures.

For the first time in the history of Times Square, the crossroad of the world today, the oldest military band known was presented: the Ottoman Janissary Band with its colorful costumes and musical instruments.

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In addition, there were live stage performances including the world renowned Whirling Dervishes and other Turkic Folklore teams.

The goal of the Times Square event was to bring the historic multicultural texture of Anatolia in Turkey to the audiences of New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers visiting Duffy Square.

The Janissary Band of 25-35 musicians, folklore, dancers and 35 actors in traditional costumes of the Roman Empire, of Troy, Lydia Kingdom, the Hittite Empire, Byzantine, Seljuks, and Ottomans paraded through Broadway Plaza from 47th Street to 42nd Street.   Only in New York!

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The crowd was given individual photo opportunities with each civilization.   Six cultural booths with traditional handcraft demonstrations and four educational and informational booths were featured.

Events continue all week in New York.   Come and experience the best that Turkey has to offer!

The week is sponsored in part by my friends at the Turkish Cultural Center, located in New York’s Midtown.   The Center is a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of Turkish culture and language in New York and the United States.

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I have attended many excellent events at the Turkish Cultural Center.   The center strengthens the cultural and educational ties between the peoples of the United States and Turkiye by placing special emphasis on dialogue, peace and environmental issues.

Their aim to make a significant contribution to national and global peace and security by sharing Turkiye’s heritage of tolerance and understanding.

The Turkish Cultural Center organizes educational and cultural activities such as the Annual Turkish Festivals, the Annual Friendship Dinners, International Conferences, Lectures and Seminars, Workshops, Book Discussions, Turkish Film Week, Art exhibits, Concerts, Movie Screenings, Award Ceremonies, and informational programs about Turkiye and Turkish Culture.

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Originally published in The Daily Kos, September 28, 2009.

The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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