The poetry final of the Olympiads took place at the Haliç Convention Center in İstanbul on Wednesday night and thousands of people, including senior officials, politicians and high-profile guests from the world of media and arts attended the event.
The Olympiads, organized by the International Turkish Education Association (TÜRKÇEDER), have brought together hundreds of foreign students each year from Turkish schools established throughout the world. This year's International Turkish Language Olympiads, which include nearly 1,000 students from 130 countries, started with a spectacular opening ceremony at İstanbul's Dolmabahçe Palace on June 15. As part of the Olympiads, the students are expected to compete in 13 categories, ranging from poetry to songs. Various events, all under the umbrella of the Olympiads, are being held throughout Turkey.
The winner of the night was Leila Kurbanova from Georgia, who recited a Mehmet Akif Ersoy poem, and second place went to Mehbare Zeynalova from Azerbaijan. A student from Belarus received third place.
Prominent figures from the Turkish literary world and authors also attended the event.
İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu presented medals to the students who were in the top three that night. Mutlu said in his speech that he greets those (teachers) who traveled all across the globe “to meet people,” referring to the slogan of this year's Turkish Olympiad. He also said he sends his gratitude to teachers who make great efforts, while suffering to teach science, culture and love to these “beautiful children.”
Author and Zaman daily columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan said the Turkish Olympiads are now slowly becoming an international brand, adding that in the future these students will become Turkey's honorary ambassadors.
Yavuz Bülent Bakiler, a prominent Turkish author, said he thanks esteemed Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen for assisting in launching Turkish schools abroad and that he respects those who spent their energy on this.