Turkish Classical Music Friends Association in Komotini continues its activities

Western Thrace
Fri, 3 Feb 2023 9:00 GMT
Western Thrace Turks are trying to keep their culture alive by performing Turkish Classical Music under the umbrella of the association they founded.
Turkish Classical Music Friends Association in Komotini continues its activities

Western Thrace Turks, who see keeping Turkish culture alive as the most important factor that maintains their existence here, play an important role in transferring this culture from generation to generation with the associations they have established.

The Turkish Classical Music Choir, which was established about 50 years ago in order to keep the Turkish Classical Music, which is a part of their culture, alive in Western Thrace, started to operate as the Association of Turkish Classical Music Friends in August 2022.

Members of the association gather once a week in the hall of the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union (BTTÖB), on the wall of which there are pictures of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and former Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, and try to keep the spirit of Turkish Classical Music alive in Western Thrace, accompanied by tea sipped in slim-waisted glasses.

Western Thrace artists, who take the listeners on a journey through time with the most popular songs of Turkish Classical Music, which is held in high esteem in every period, are highly appreciated especially with the concerts they organize in Turkey and the Balkan countries where the Turkish population lives.

In his statement to the AA correspondent, Galip Galip, President of the Friends of Turkish Art Music Association, stated that the aim of the association was to keep Turkish Classical Music alive and popular in Western Thrace, and said that he joined the choir 60 years ago.

"We feel compelled to do something to keep the songs in our mother tongue alive"

Galip said, "We feel compelled to do something to keep the songs in our mother tongue, which we hear from our parents and grandparents and listen to on the radio, alive."

Reminding that when the choir was first established, Turkish songs were sung by participating in programs on local radios, Galip said that concerts were also organized with Greek and Armenian communities living in the region.

Galip said, "These concerts attracted great attention. We believed that we were on the right track. We were performing music here as people living together."

Emphasizing that the choir operated under the umbrella of the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union (BTTÖB) before becoming an association, Galip stated that they decided to become an association after facing various difficulties.

Expressing that they are in contact with many music associations, Galip said that the number of members in the choir sometimes reaches 40.

Galip noted that they performed successful concerts especially in the Balkan countries with Turkish population, and that they were invited to give a concert in an event to be held in Edirne and Koşukavak in the coming days.

"Our associations were closed because it contains the word Turkish"

Evaluating the Greek state's closing or banning associations with the word Turkish in their names in Western Thrace, Galip said:

"We started our work as affiliated with the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union, but it was banned and closed because the name of the union had the word "Turkish" in its name. Our associations were closed because there was the word "Turkish" in them. On the grounds that there were no Turks in Western Thrace, we were just Muslims. These issues were brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). "The cases heard there were won, but Greece still does not show any sensitivity in this regard. Our associations are still operating, but without being official. They are still standing with the efforts of our kinsmen."

All members are volunteers in the choir

Emine Tahsin, one of the founders of the choir, who served as the vice president and general secretary of the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union, said that all members took part in the choir voluntarily and that they gave concerts in many places, especially in Turkey and the Balkan countries.

İrfan Hüseyin, whose main profession is architecture and plays the qanun in the choir, emphasized that he joined the band 50 years ago because of his interest in Turkish music, and said, "We had a high school teacher who played the qanun. At that time, I liked the sound of the qanun so much that years later I became a qanun. I learned to play this instrument alone without buying it."

Hüseyin added that he looked forward to the day the choir performed.

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