June 6, 2015

Belgium ‘proud’ to be host as ‘colors of the world’ rocks EU capital

Children from across the world who participated in the 13th International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC) performed a spectacular show in Brussels on Saturday night, drawing a large number of guests, including senior European politicians.

Consisting of 350 children from a variety of countries across the world, IFLC ‘s different “Colors of the World” show in Brussels was broadcast live by Belgium's state channel RTBF and La Trois TV channel on Saturday along with Samanyolu TV, Irmak TV, Mehtap TV and Europe MC. To support the show, #ColorsoftheWorld and #IFLCBrussels hashtags were created on Twitter during the live broadcast.

The children, who were welcomed in Brussels and performed a special show at the European Parliament at the behest of President Martin Schulz on Wednesday, sang songs in various languages including Kurdish and Turkish.

Earlier in the day, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel posted a series of tweets in which he expressed his country’s “honor” to host the event. “Pride in Belgium, welcome Festival of Language and Culture,” Michel said in one of his tweets originally posted in Dutch. In another tweet, he said Belgium is honored to host the event.

Belgian PM Charles Michel tweets on International Language and Culture Festival
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweets on the “Colors of the World” show held in Brussels as a part of the 13th International Language and Culture Festival (June 6, 2015).

He also thanked all those who took part in the organization of the event on behalf of the Belgian government and expressed gratitude to host the show.

The IFLC -- a new brand name for what used to be known as the International Turkish Language Olympiads -- has already been held in capital cities around the world for two years since the-then Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan banned them in Turkey after a corruption investigation implicating members of the government went public on Dec. 17, 2013.

Erdoğan, without any concrete evidence, accuses sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement -- popularly known as the Hizmet movement -- especially those in the police forces and the judiciary, to be behind the graft probe in what he calls an attempt to overthrow the government. Accusations strongly rejected by the movement.

Since then, instead of helping the police and judiciary elucidate the case, Erdoğan has chosen to target anyone associated with the movement, including Turkish schools based abroad, which are the main contributors to the IFLC.

Published on Today's Zaman, 6 June 2015, Saturday