Joy and thanksgiving prevailed as tens of thousands of people gathered in İstanbul’s grand stadium on Thursday to live experience outstanding performances of students in the 10th Turkish Olympiads.
The venue for the grand finale on Thursday was Türk Telekom Arena -- Galatasaray's new multi-billion-dollar, 52,000-capacity football stadium in İstanbul's Seyrantepe neighborhood. Thousands, arriving in the area in the hope to enter the stadium, left outside and had to watch the magnificient closing ceremony from giant screens set up outside of the stadium.
A group of 290 international performers put on a show while a 16-minute visual festival was presented to the audience with light and projection elements, depicting the world map to honor teachers emigrated to countries across the globe.
The students wore 1,000 specially-made costumes in the closing ceremony.
Animations and images was projected onto a giant screen set on the pitch. An orchestra composed of 50 musicians provided music for the night. Four giant models representing the four different continents from which the students came placed in the stadium.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his spouse Emine Erdoğan, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş participated in the closing ceremony.
The organizers from the International Turkish Education Association (TÜRKÇEDER) delivered Turkish Olympiads’ “Special Award” to Erdoğan for his “support for efforts to promote Turkish language.”
Erdoğan, in a speech following the award, hailed the 10th Turkish Olympiads as an effective way to promote Turkish language and culture, expressing his gratitude to devoted teachers working in Turkish schools in more than 140 countries all over the world.
“Turkey is a friend, brother of your country,” Erdoğan told the foreign students in the stadium filled with over 50,000 spectators. The prime minister spoke in length about the clout of Turkish language in the past centuries and saluted over 1,500 students who came to İstanbul to participate in the contest.
Erdoğan, who also was the keynote speaker in a few previous Turkish Olympiads’ closing ceremonies, thanked Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, without directly mentioning his name, and implied that he return to Turkey as soon as possible from the US, where he is staying for nearly 13 years.
“We want this yearning to end,” he said, receiving a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, in an open invitation to Gülen to return to his hometown Turkey.
Erdoğan said those teachers who are working in Turkish schools abroad deserve plaudits and every kind of gratitude and thanksgiving, saying that it is not possible to ignore them without appreciating.
A total of 1,500 international students from 135 countries have come to Turkey for the Turkish Language Olympiad. This year's competitions, which commenced on May 30 and finished on June 14, have predominantly been held in Ankara and İstanbul, but there have also been activities in 41 other Turkish cities. The theme of this year's Olympiad is “İnsanlık için el ele” (“Hand-in-hand for humanity”).
Users on Twitter also made #turkcearenasi and #bayramobayramola as top trending topics.
Published on Today's Zaman, 14 June 2012, Thursday