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Spirit of Karacaoğlan at Turkish poetry event

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Second annual poetry event brought together students from weekend and supplementary schools across the UK

Poetry lovers came together on Sunday at the Yunus Emre Turkish language institute for a festival of verse designed to keep the tradition alive.

The poetry festival commission, with Turkish teachers İlhan Akfırat, Şeref Öztürk, Özhan Gülay, Ece Şentürk, Sabriye Uz ve Gülse Koca, and education section coordinator Bahadır Han Değirmenci (centre)

The event, which was attended by more than thirty students from 20 different schools, saw particular reference to Karacaoğlan, the 17th century Ottoman-Turkish folk poet.

The day was presented by Turkish culture and language teacher Ece Şentürk

Organised by the Turkish embassy’s education offices and presented by Turkish teacher Ece Şentürk, the event was attended by Turkish education attaché Bahadır Han Değirmenci; Necmi Hasanoğlu from the Turkish Language, Culture and Education Consortium; Turkish Cypriot representative Ülkü Alemdar; and headteachers, teachers, parents and students.

Turkish Cypriot representative Ülkü Alemdar

“I am delighted to take part in events like this, which are designed to keep our culture and language alive here, far away from our homeland,” Ülkü Alemdar said.

She said she was a writer and reader of poetry herself and, to mark Mother’s Day, concluded her remarks by reading out a poem on this note.

Necmi Hasanoğlu, from the education consortium, said the world of poetry was a place where emotions could be conveyed and expressed delight at the interest taken by children in the medium.

He concluded his remarks with the final verses from “Her Şey Sende Gizli” (Everything Is Hidden In You) by Can Yücel.

Turkish Language, Culture and Education Consortium president Necmi Hasanoğlu

It was followed by a documentary screening showing the life and times of Karacaoğlan, who poetry gave a vivid picture of nature and village life in Anatolian settlements. This kind of folk poetry, as distinct from the poetry of the Ottoman palace, was emphasized after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and became an important influence on modern lyric poetry, with Karacaoğlan being its foremost exponent.

Among those participating in Sunday’s event were Demir Seyran from Grange Park Turkish school,  Yasemin Doğantan from Hazelwood Atatürk Turkish school, Nurten Mertcan from Hornsey Turkish school; Yasemin Dinçer and Büşra Gün from Luton Weekend Turkish school, and Eren Soğancılar, Ezgi Karayel and Leyla Ahmet from Bickley Turkish Language School.

Also taking part was Bengisu Hatice Mısıroğlu from the Dr. Tözün İsa Chesterfield Atatürk Turkish school; İrem Kaygısız, Ayşe Caner and Ecrin Baysu from Ilford Turkish school; Southgate Turkish school’s Estel Kayim, Shadiye Balıkçıoğlu, Orhan Cemal and Vedat Cemal and Dilan Durmuş from the West London Turkish School.

Completing the set was Waltham Forest Turkish school’s Aslıhan Yıldırım, with instrumental accompaniment from Oğuzhan Yıldırım, Ozan Mattock and Serdar İhsan; Naz Faysaloğlu from the Dr. Fazıl Küçük Turkish school; Celine Bulut from the North West Turkish Community Association; Huriye Çiftçioğlu from the Ali Rıza Değirmencioğlu Turkish school; Edmonton Fazilet Turkish school’s Ahmet Hilmi Bektaş; and finally Deren Kemal and Duriye Ataoğlu from the Raif Rauf Denktaş Turkish school.

All performed a medley for Turkish poems from throughout the years.