Living away from their nations, thousands of Syrians came together at the 'Migrant Syrian's Cultural Festival' advertised by the Ümraniye Municipality with the slogan of 'We are the invited of our guests.' Mayor Hasan Can's emotional speech marked the excitement-filled event at the Ümraniye Square where examples of the Syrian culture were exhibited.
While many of the Syrians forced to leave their nation due to the civil war which emerged in the 2011 live in tent cities in different regions of Turkey, another portion try to continue their life in large cities. The Ümraniye Municipality continues to aid more than one thousand families of the over eight thousand Syrian refugees that live in Ümraniye, trying to continue their lives. Along continuing aiding with basic necessities of bread, coal, heater stoves, blankets, etc. and their support in the education of Syrian children, this time the Ümraniye Municipality signed off on an unforgettable culture festival for the Syrian refugees.
Alongside Ümraniye Municipal Mayor Hasan Can and his wife Saliha Can, AK Party Istanbul Parliament Member Ahmet Berat Conkar, Ümraniye District Police Chief Hüseyin Göllüce, Vice-Mayors Mahmut Eminmollaoğlu, Esq., Mesut Özdemir, Mustafa Küçükkapdan, and Türkan Öztürk, District Youth Services and Sports Direct Muhammet Kılıç, AK Party's Ümraniye District Deputy Heads Muharrem Balık, AK Party Ümraniye District Women’s Branch Head Mukkades Tosun, Marmara University Faculty of Theology faculty member Dr. Şihabettin Farfur, Syrian Flowers Principal Samir Bekir, unit managers, councilmembers, NGO representatives, neighbourhood chiefs and various Syrian residents attended the festival organized in Ümraniye Square.
In the Ümraniye Square where the event was constructed, various Syrian delicacies were presented to Ümraniye residents, such as felafal, mutebbe, humus, Damascus desert and Arab bread. Where traditional Arab coffee was offered, little children thoroughly enjoyed the festival in the inflatable playground. The program started with the Syrian Flowers students’ recitation of the Qur'an and a traditional Syrian sword-shield folklore show received great acclaim from the audience. Continuing with the religious hymns sung by the group Syrian Flowers, the program took an emotional turn with Ebrar Bakr’s tearful recitation of the İstiklal Marşı, a child living in Ümraniye with her family who fled from the bombardment in Syria at the last moment.
Giving the program’s opening speech, Syrian Flowers Principal Samir Bekir said, “Dear guests, I thank you for your attendance. I also thank Ümraniye Municipal Mayor Hasan Can and his Vice-Mayors in their support for our school as well as bringing us together today. All Muslims are brothers! May Allah be compassionate upon all of us both in this world and in the hereafter. May He protect Turkey and all Muslims.” Afterwards, the Principal Samir Bekir gave Mayor Hasan Can a tableau with a hadith inscription.
Reading a poem in gratitude for Turkey, Marmara University Faculty of Theology faculty member Dr. Şihabettin Farfur said, “I congratulate Ümraniye Municipal Mayor Hasan Can in bringing us together in such a good program. May Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.” Dr. Farfur said, “Just as it was in the past, they are trying to sow discord amongst us Muslims. However with Allah’s permission and will, with our brotherhood we defeated their maleficent plans. With Turkey’s and the Ümraniye Municipality’s help, we see today that you, our Turkish brothers, are doing the same as your grandfathers in the Ottoman State by opening your doors, arms and sharing your food with us. We notably thank the President of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ümraniye Municipality Mayor Hasan Can.”
In his speech, AK Party's Ümraniye District Deputy Heads Muharrem Balık said, “Turkey, led by President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has done its brotherly duty and opened its doors wide open for its Syrian brothers. And for this reason we say: if our country remains strong, our oppressed brothers in other countries will also be strong. Today’s program is recorded not just by the cameras seen. History too is recording today. This organization is a fusion of the two countries’ cultures. I would like to thank Ümraniye Municipality Mayor Hasan Can for signing off on such pleasant program. I greet you all with respect and affection.”
MAYOR HASAN CAN: “ALL OPPRESSION WILL END AND THE SUN WILL RISE”
Appealing to the Syrian-intense crowd at the festivities in Arabic, addressing the enthusiastic crowd Ümraniye Municipality Mayor Hasan Can said, “My dear Syrian brothers, welcome to our country, Istanbul, Ümraniye. You are all our brothers! For in His book Allah (s.w.t.) says, “Surely all believers are brothers.” For this reason you are all our Muslim brothers. Today, in God’s will, you are ‘Muhacir’ and we are ‘Ensar.’ 100 years ago we were all one country. 100 years ago we all had a nation. It is because of this we are all family of the same nation. 100 years ago at Çanakkale, Gallipoli, and Sarıkamış Muslims from Muslim countries everywhere, Aleppo, Damascus, Baghdad, Yemen, Baku, Crimea, Bosnia and Kosovo, Komotini, Thrace and Anatolia, all went to Çanakkale and Sarıkamış. Our ancestors crusaded together at Çanakkale and everywhere. They fought for victory. For this reason Çanakkale is our and your victory. 45 days ago we had a program in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Municipality of Ümraniye. We had a program about the Çanakkale Victory. Because 15000 people from Bosnia also joined the war. And most of them became martyrs. And once again Muslims from Aleppo, Syria, Damascus, Baghdad, Libya, Cairo, and Yemen joined in our crusade, may they rest in peace. Years ago you were by our side. Today we are by yours.”
Saying that the day was for Syrians, Mayor Hasan Can continued and ended his speech as so, “Today is the day of the Cultural Festival for Syrians. Just five minutes ago our professor told us about the Ottoman Sultans’ victories against tyrants. And we are the grandchildren of such forefathers. With God’s will the oppression in Syria and the Middle East will end. All oppression will end and the sun will rise. Years ago I went to Cairo and visited the graves of the tyrants, Shah, King Farouk, and Abdel Nasser. At their graves I said, ‘O tyrants rise.’ Yet they didn’t. Because they died as tyrants. We are always on the side of the oppressed. In God’s will, our friendship will have strengthened with the Republic of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Prof. Dr Ahmet Davutoğlu. You are our guests. But today we are your guests. You have offered us your food, your coffee, Mirra. All of it was delicious. I thank you. Our door will always be open to you. We hope for there to be peace in Syria. That you will reach peace and reunite with your country. O Allah, be on the side of those who support Islam. Have those who betray Muslims, betrayed. O Allah support Muslims’ armies. O Allah, support the Syrian soldiers against Assad. O Allah you see this oppression. I hope for this oppression to end. Our hearts are one. Allah is our witness to this. All of you are our brothers.”
Expressing that he witnessed an incredible program, AK Party Istanbul Parliament Member Ahmet Berat Conkar said, “We have eight thousand Syrian brothers and sisters in Ümraniye. Having evaluated all of their information at hand, our municipality provides education opportunities at its own, the Ümraniye Municipality’s, culture centre. Our municipality also shows great effort in trying to meet other needs of our Syrian brothers, guests.” Thanking Ümraniye Municipality Mayor Hasan Can for his works, Conkar said, “And on this day there is a pleasant atmosphere where our Ümraniye citizens get together and meet the culture of our Syrian brothers and sisters, the Syrian culture is displayed and Syrian foot is offered. This program also ensures our Ümraniye residents to socialise with our Syrian brothers.”
After the speeches, there were more enthusiastic moments in the festival area as a special sword-shield show took the stage once again with Arabic songs in the background. The program’s finale ended with a screening of the late Syrian director who died in a terrorist attack, Mustafa Akkad’s movie Cağrı/Risale.