Organized by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, the 16th Balkan Folk Dance and Culture Festival started with colorful images. Speaking at the opening ceremony in Cumhuriyet Square, President Soyer said, “We have to give strength to each other and hold on to the common mind and conscience more than ever. Especially in this political climate where the winds of war are intensifying, we should all cling to peace together," he said.
The Balkan Folk Dance and Culture Festival, which was organized for the first time in 1935 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, started with the ceremony and cortege march held in Cumhuriyet Square. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor, who hosted the opening ceremony of the festival, which was started to reinforce the Balkan brotherhood after Atatürk's promise of "Peace at home, peace in the world" and held for the 16th time this year. Tunç Soyer, 24, 25 and 26. Term İzmir Deputy Musa Çam, Konak Mayor Abdül Batur, consul generals, representatives of Balkan associations and İzmir residents.
Soyer: The aim is to protect this unique cultural heritage, which is a heirloom from our ancestors.
Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Tunç Soyer, “There are two main reasons why we are holding this festival in a glorious way; the first is to protect this unique cultural heritage, which is inherited from our ancestors, and the second is to give a voice to world peace with the inspiration we get from it. Culture constitutes the soul and essence of a city and society. Culture provides a bond that goes far beyond political, diplomatic and economic relations for the growth of peace and the strengthening of friendship. We all experience the effects of two major disasters, such as the climate crisis and the pandemic, that humanity has experienced in recent years. None of us is free from the negative consequences of these disasters. For this reason, we have to give strength to each other and to hold on to the common mind and conscience more than ever. Especially in this political climate where the winds of war are intensifying, we should all cling to peace together. This festival, started by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is one of the most universal steps taken to establish peace between the peoples of the Balkans and the world. It is not a coincidence that this festival, the foundations of which were laid 86 years ago, is not a coincidence in Izmir for fifteen years… Izmir's Balkan Festival is the work of people who love the republic, peace and freedom of our Izmir, one of the cities with the largest Balkan population in the world.”
It will bring joy to the city
Atilla Baysak, Head of the Balkan Desk of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Council, said, “I hope this festival, which will last for 4 days, will bring color and joy to our city and bring friendship. I wish for a peaceful world where parents do not grieve, children do not cry," he said.
After the opening speeches, President Soyer and the accompanying delegation participated in the cortege march. Citizens accompanied the cortege, which was accompanied by music and attended by folk dance ensembles with their local clothes, with applause. The cortege ended at the Kulturpark Lausanne gate.