The Balkans Folk Dance and Culture Festival, organized for the 16th time this year by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, brought folk dance teams from 12 countries together at the Balkan Culture Night. Speaking at the ceremony, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer“Today, I am with you not only as the mayor of this city, but also as the grandson of Albanian Mustafa Sergeant who settled in the Aegean from Pristina. The spiritual borders of İzmir are larger than its area. This is not just a festival. Our meeting is a square of loyalty where İzmir shows its loyalty to its Ata.”
Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Tunç Soyerparticipated in the Balkan Culture Night organized as part of the 16th Balkan Folk Dance and Culture Festival. Folk dance teams of 12 countries together with Turkey, Republican People's Party (CHP) İzmir Deputy Kani Beko and his wife Müberra Beko, CHP İzmir Deputy Kamil Okyay Sındır, district mayors, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Assembly members, Representatives of Balkan associations and headmen attended.
“İzmir is the city of peace and tolerance”
Speaking at the night, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer“Today, I am with you not only as the mayor of the metropolitan municipality, but also as the grandson of the Albanian Mustafa Sergeant, who settled in the Aegean from Pristina. Our Izmir embraced my grandfather, who is a Balkan Turk, and all his friends and grandchildren. He healed our wounds and became life. I know that in this geography, which is the cradle of democracy, and in the hearts of the brave people of our city, there is a very strong leaven. The name of that yeast is harmony. Therefore, İzmir has always been the city of peace and tolerance. The seeds of democracy have spread all over the world from here,” he said.
“We inherited it from our ancestors”
Reminding that the festival was held for the first time with the instructions of the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, President Soyer said, “We took over this festival, where the word peace at home and peace in the world became flesh and bone, from our Ancestor, and we are shaking on this great legacy in İzmir. We are glad that we are together once again at the Balkan Folk Dance and Culture Festival. We are again very colorful, again very vocal, again very breathy… And we are very beautiful together again! This year, hundreds of artists and many of our citizens from the Balkan geography and our country met at this festival. Moreover, this is not just a festival. Our meeting is a square of loyalty where İzmir shows its loyalty to its Ata. In this square, we show once again that it is possible to live “one and free like a tree” and “as brothers and sisters like a forest”. Because this is İzmir, the face of hope.”
“İzmir's spiritual borders are bigger than its face size”
President Soyer also said: The spiritual borders of Izmir are larger than its face. Although it is in Anatolia, İzmir is also a Balkan city. For this reason, we will continue to be the voice and word of our citizens of Balkan origin, who were driven from their homelands by experiencing deep pain, and we will continue to keep the Balkan spirit of İzmir alive. And thanks to this spirit, we will illuminate the second century of our Republic with the sweet sun of democracy rising from Izmir.”
Evrim Ateşler and İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Exchange Chorus also gave concerts in the night.