13th Yoruk Turkmen Festival of Balıkesir
The 13th Yoruk Turkmen Festival of Balıkesir took place between May 11th-15th, 2017. The festival organized by the Municipality of Balıkesir Altıeylül with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey and the International Organization of Turkic Culture TURKSOY featured performances of dance ensembles from Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia Herzegowina, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
Within the framework of the festival, dance and music ensembles from Kyrgyzstan, a member country of TURKSOY, as well as from kindred communities living in the Balkans came to Balıkesir. Accompanied by a representative of TURKSOY, artists paid a visit to the Mayor of Altıeylül, Dr. Zekai Kafaoğlu. During the visit, the Mayor Mr. Kafaoglu and the artists mutually exchanged souvenirs.
The Mayor of Altıeylül Dr. Zekai Kafaoğlu who said a few words during the visit of artists from the Turkic World and the Balkans wished them welcome and expressed his hapiness to see them in Altıeylül. The Mayor further said: "We are happy to welcome you in our festival every year. It is a great pleasure for me to be your host. Let me also extend my gratitude to the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) for its support and contribution to the organization of this festival. Our festival starts today and will last three days. We have a rich cultural heritage with illustrious personalities such as Yunus Emre, Mevlana and Hacı Bektaşı Veli who always taught people to be open-minded and tolerant. One famous quotation of Yunus Emre is: “Let us make things easy, let us be tolerant towards eachother, none of us is eternal”.''
The 13th Yoruk Turkmen Festival of Balıkesir featured a concert of the Janissary Band, a parade, oil wrestling and music performances. Thousands of spectators attending the festival were offered Yuruk rice and ayran.
The festival which took place on the Ayvatlar Plateau started with opening speeches and went on with a show featuring the SHKA Jahi Hasani Folk Dance Ensemble from Macedonia which enchanted the audience with its performance. The festival went on with colourful performances of the Yaren Folk Dance Ensemble followed by the KUD Preporod Konjic Folk Dance Ensemble of Bosnia Herzegowina and the Folk Dance Ensemble of the Syndyrgy Technical Highschool. Other performances highly appreciated by the spectators were hippic archery and martial arts' shows. The festival ended with wonderful performances of the Datkaiym Folk Dance Ensemble of Kyrgyzstan and the Folk Dance Ensemble of the Mestanlı Association of Turkic Culture Art and Interaction of Bulgaria.