Thousands of Turks marked a traditional Turkish day and festival in New York with celebrations on Saturday. Attendance at the 31st Annual Turkish Day Parade and Festival, which was organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations (TADF), was much greater in comparison to previous years.
Marking another difference from previous years, Native Americans were also present in the celebrations and became a source of great interest with their beautiful dances. Continuing for almost two hours, the celebrations were joined by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ as well.
In addition to the colorful dances of the Native American, the celebrations became an exhibition ground for the fan parades of Turkish football teams. The parade of Galatasaray fans was particularly magnificent due to their recent Super League championship win. The number of Americans in the parade was reported to be greater than in previous years.
Following the end of the parades, Bozdağ, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru, TADF President Ali Çınar, Turkish Ambassador to the United Nations Ertuğrul Apakan, Turkish Consul General to New York Levent Bilgen, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) representative in New York Hilmi Akil, Overseas Turks Agency (TYB) Chairman Kemal Yurtnaç and other officials of the Turkish delegation traveled to the Dag Hammarskjold Park to take part in the Turkish Day Festival, later joined by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and his wife, Zeynep Babacan. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was also in attendance.
During the event Bozdağ called on Turks living in the United States to unite, adding: “We celebrated the Turkish Day festival together and I see that the participants of the celebrations are not only the Turks who came to attend the event but those who came to the US from all over the world. Moreover, there are other ethnic groups carrying ethnic kinship with Turks at the celebration.”
Bozdağ noted that Turkish citizens living abroad can now cast their votes in Turkish elections. Talking to participants, Babacan said Turks living in the US should integrate into the cultural and social life of the American community. “However, the unity among yourselves is very important. Whenever you are in solidarity, you will be much stronger,” Babacan said.