Largest Turkish festival in US begins
The Turkish Cultural Center (TCC), an institute dedicated to promoting Turkish culture and language throughout the US, is currently holding its second Turkish Days festival in New York City. The seven-day event, which started on Sunday, is being held at several New York landmarks, including Times Square and Grand Central Station. Each event in the festival has a different theme. "The theme has been altered to a Turkic, Turkish and Balkans festival that will include not just Turkish culture, but those of the Balkans and Central Asia," said TCC head Mehmet Kilic. Monday's event, the Parade of Anatolian Civilizations in Times Square, showcased over 10,000 years of history and featured the world's oldest military band, the colorful Ottoman Janissaries. The Contemporary Turkish Movies Festival as part of the Turkish Days features the Turkish films “The Dance of Love,” “Butterfly” and “Revolution Cars." After each movie, there will be a discussion session with the directors and actors. A film week at the New York Film Academy will also spotlight the latest works from Turkish directors and stress the resurgence in Turkish cinema over the last two decades. On Friday, Grand Central Station will be made to resemble Istanbul's Sultanahmet neighborhood with whirling dervishes, artists and craftsmen from Turkey. A street festival on Sunday on 41st Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue will focus on Istanbul, particularly the Grand Bazaar. "The food will be specially prepared, and the experience for the guests will resemble a typical bazaar of the 1800s," said Kilic, adding that they had to expand the festival to a week because they found last year that they couldn't fit Turkish culture into one day. "We needed an entire week to showcase everything Turkey has to offer," he said. "We needed to raise the bar from last year, and a weeklong festival will allow us to reach more people and give more visitors a chance to experience Turkish culture." Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, who accompanied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the US last week to attend a number of high-level events and meetings, were among the high-profile guests at the Turkish Days. Speaking to reporters, Davutoglu said that such activities would boost cultural cooperation and build bridges between Turkey and the US. Babacan said he hopes the festival will become a tradition. Both Davutoglu and Babacan stressed that holding this event in the heart of the US would do much to make Turkish culture and history better known among the American people, immersing them in the rich, colorful and deep-rooted Turkish culture for one week.