The opening event of Turkistan, the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2017 took place in Turkistan with the contribution of nearly 300 artists from 22 countries. Young artists from Europe and Asia came together in the homeland of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi to celebrate both the Nevruz Feast which is one of the most important traditions of Turkic civilization and the selection of Turkistan as Cultural Capital of the Turkic World together with thousands of citizens of Turkistan.
The opening ceremony of the event hosted by the Governorate of Southern Kazakhstan gathered the Minister of Sports and Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Muhamediuly, the Governor of Southern Kazakhstan Janseyit Tuymebayev and TURKSOY Secretary General, Ambassador Dusen Kasseinov.
Guest delegations first gathered around the Khoja Akhmet Yassawi Shrine and visited monuments around it. The ceremony started with the raising of the flag of Turkistan to once again celebrate its selection as cultural capital. Representatives of Turkic speaking peoples then repeated the ancient ritual described for the first time in a book plublished in the 18th century and gathered around the cauldron in the shrine.
The event went on with opening speeches. The first openingf speech was delivered by the Minister of Sports and Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Muhamediuly who expressed his wish as to the Nevruz Feast bringing about abundance and fruitfulness. Minister Muhamediuly extended his gratitude to all those who contributed to the organization of the event and gave some information about the programme of the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2017.
In his speech, the Governor of Soutrhern Kazakhstan Janseyit Tuymebayev expressed his happiness about the fact that Turkistan has been declared Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2017, and said: "Years ago, our President, the leader of the Turkic World Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his wish as to TURKSOY being the UNESCO of the Turkic World. With all activities and event it has been carrying out up to now, TURKSOY has already deserved this title long ago. As an initiative launched in 2012, the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2012 is one of the best examples of successful activities carried out by TURKSOY. We will honour the title of Cultural Capital in the best way possible and transmit it to the next Cultural Capital of the Turkic World.’’
TURKSOY Secretary General Dusen Kasseinov who also took the floor at the event said that the title of Cultural Capital of the Turkic World contributes to the cultural and social development of cities of the Turkic World. Ambassador Kasseinov further extended his gratitude to the Heads of States of TURKSOY member countries for the support they provided to TURKSOY. Ambassador Kasseinov added: "The first city to bear the title of Cultural Capital of the Turkic World was Astana in 2012 yılında. Astana was then followed by Eskisehir the modern city of Turkey in 2013; the historical city of Kazan in Tatarstan in 2014; the ancient city of Merv in Turkmenistan in 2015 and Sheki, the nature`s wonder of Azerbaijan in 2016. We are very happy to have declared Turkistan as the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2017. Indeed, this is a sacred place in the Turkic World and I believe that we will introduce this beautiful city to the world with all events and activities which we will be holding here."
Press Awards of TURKSOY
The opening ceremony held in Turkistan on March 21st, 2017 also hosted the Ceremony of Press Awards of TURKSOY. In the ceremony, members of the press media of the Turkic World have been handed over their awards in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of Turkic culture. This year, the Press Awards of TURKSOY which have been held since 2010 have been handed over to 14 personalities and institutions from 7 countries.
The opening ceremony of the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World which went on with performances of artists from the Turkic World gathered thousands of people who came to Turkistan to experience this unique atmosphere. The performances of guest dance ensembles and artists received standing ovations from the audience. Various events held throughout the day were meant to stress the unity and solidarity of the Turkic World and featured colourful examples of Kazak national arts as well as traditional sports competitions.
Impressive Caravane of Turkistan
The celebrations were highlighted by a fairstand featuring souvenirs from Kazakhstan: a group of 300 traditional craftsmen of Kazakhstan presented various items reflecting Kazak culture and lifestyle. In "yurtas", the traditional tents of Turkis peoples, visitors also had the opportunity to taste traditional Kazak cuisine.
With this opening ceremony, this important city of the Silkroad declared as Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2017 upon decision of the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of Turkic Speaking Countries, will become the gathering point of artists and scholars of the Turkic World throughout the year.