Date posted: May 28, 2013
Nearly 3 million people attended the Cultural Festival of the 11th International Turkish Olympiads, an event celebrating the Turkish language that will bring together 2,000 students from 140 countries this year.
The event, which began on Friday, was held by the Turkish Education Association (TÜRKÇEDER) and attracted considerable interest from both visitors from İzmir and other provinces. The three-day event was held at İzmir’s Kültürpark. Children from 140 countries displayed items from their countries in booths at the fairground and talked about their countries and traditions in Turkish with visitors, most of whom were surprised by the students’ Turkish abilities. Moreover, many activities were held at the Kültürpark, such as concerts and theater performances, as part of the event. Visitors enjoyed seeing different kinds of traditional clothes and musical instruments, tasting traditional meals and having their photos taken with the foreign students.
İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu also attended the cultural festival. Kocaoğlu spent time with students from several African countries and also talked with Minister Delegate for Social Dialogue Doina Adriana Pană and Chief Consul Leresa Nokolas at the Romanian booth. The mayor stated that they are very happy to have the students in İzmir. The coordinator of the cultural festival, Aydın Panayır, told reporters that the event had attracted more people than he expected and extended his thanks to the İzmir Municipality and the Izmir Fair Organization (İZFAŞ) for hosting the event. Panayır stated that Turkish Olympiads will continue until June 16 in several parts of the country.
The closing ceremony of the event took place at the Atatürk Open-air Amphitheater with a large crowd in attendance. Children participating in the Olympiads sang Turkish songs during the ceremony.
The 11th International Turkish Olympiads began in İstanbul on Wednesday. The event began with a news conference held at Atatürk Olympic Stadium attended by the Turkish deputy parliamentary speaker and International Turkish Language Olympiads Organizing Committee Chairman Mehmet Sağlam, Turkish Education Association (TÜRKÇEDER) President Ali Ursavaş, Professor Şükrü Haluk Akalın, Fatih University Rector Şerif Ali Tekalan, deputy general manager of Bank Asya, the main sponsor of Turkish Olympiads, Murat Aydoğan, Turkish Olympiads General Arts Director Cemil Özen and some of the students.
Sağlam noted that the international students will take part in performances, including singing and poetry recitals, across 55 Turkish provinces this year. He also said approximately 15,000 students around the world have prepared for the Turkish Olympiads.
Each year, thousands of students around the world work towards attending the Olympiads, but only the finalists who win at national competitions are invited to the international competition in Turkey. The competition will see gold medals given to the top 10 individuals, silver medals to the top 10 percent of competitors and bronze medals given to the top 30 percent of competitors.
Last year’s Turkish Olympiads were attended by students from 135 countries. Students from the Dominican Republic, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Brunei are also attending the event for the first time this year.
Source: Today’s Zaman, May 27, 2013