Turkish Olympiads Cultural Festival attended by 3 million visitors in Izmir
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 (TURKCEDER) and attracted considerable interest from both visitors from Izmir and other provinces. The three-day event was held at İzmir's Kulturpark. 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 Kulturpark, 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. Izmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoglu also attended the cultural festival. Kocaoglu spent time with students from several African countries and also talked with Minister Delegate for Social Dialogue Doina Adriana Pana and Chief Consul Leresa Nokolas at the Romanian booth. The mayor stated that they are very happy to have the students in Izmir. The coordinator of the cultural festival, Aydın Panayir, told reporters that the event had attracted more people than he expected and extended his thanks to the Izmir Municipality and the Izmir Fair Organization (IZFAS) for hosting the event. Panayir 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 Ataturk 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 Istanbul on Wednesday. The event began with a news conference held at Ataturk Olympic Stadium attended by the Turkish deputy parliamentary speaker and International Turkish Language Olympiads Organizing Committee Chairman Mehmet Saglam, Turkish Education Association (TURKCEDER) President Ali Ursavas, Professor Sukru Haluk Akalin, Fatih University Rector Serif Ali Tekalan, deputy general manager of Bank Asya, the main sponsor of Turkish Olympiads, Murat Aydogan, Turkish Olympiads General Arts Director Cemil Ozen and some of the students. Saglam 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.