The 17th Olive Festival, which was organized by Girne Municipality, started with the cortege walk on 5th October. The opening ceremony of the festival took place in Zeytinlik village square. President Mustafa Akinci, Prime Minister Erhürman, Cyprus Turkish Peace Force Commander Major General Yilmaz Yildirim, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, Security Forces Commander Brigadier General Tevfik Algan, Ministers, Deputies, Mayors, and representatives from Germany, Turkey and Romania, Municipal Councillors and citizens attended. Following the opening speeches olive incense was burned and the Knight Templar statue was unveiled.
In his speech at the festival, President Mustafa Akıncı said that he was very happy with the development plan in Girne. He emphasised that central and local governments, citizens and non-governmental organizations had an important role in the implementation of the zoning plan. President Akıncı pointed out the need to be productive, hard-working and productive as an olive tree. We have to spread our roots like an olive tree in this land and continue our way with strength. When we come to this beautiful environment, natural history, our past and our production comes naturally. This is a residential area of the Templos Knights.
Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman pointed out that the Olive Festival brings together the history, natural beauty, olive production, culture and art of the country and has made an important contribution to introducing the country to the world with its olive cartoon competition and international participation. Tufan Erhürman stated that the village of Zeytinlik has all the features required for tourism and emphasised that this feature should be promoted. In his speech, Prime Minister Erhürman said, We will produce more and give more importance to culture and art. We will introduce nature and our country. We will put forward that we are in the international field more and more.
The Mayor of Girne, Nidai Güngördü, said in his speech that the festival, which has been held for 17 years, has an important place in the culture, art and entertainment life of the country. Nidai Güngördı emphasized that the festival, which they implemented in order to protect the olive trees, to provide information to the producers and consumers about olive cultivation, and to increase the potential of the olive and bi-products, contributed to the creation of a significant awareness in the country.
During the festival there were tennis tournaments, billiards tournaments, chess tournaments, cooking competitions, youth activities, dance shows, concerts, face painting and much more including many stalls selling olives and olive oil products and other items. The popular cartoon competition was also held during the Festival.
Mayor Güngördü received guests from many countries including Antalya Muratpaşa Mayor Ümit Uysal and his delegation, Ayvalık Mayor Rahmi Gençer and his delegation, Beylikdüzü Municipality, Bursa Nilüfer Municipality, Anamur Municipality, Kuşadası Municipality, German Municipality of Bingen, Adana Metropolitan Municipality officials, and Edremit, there were also guests from Romania. The International Olive Cartoon Competition was held and information about the city and the works of the municipality was given, and there was a presentation of olive, olive oil, olive caricature albums and bags of souvenirs of Cyprus. A souvenir photograph was taken with the delegations.
Indicating that the olive tree has spread around the world from Cyprus and Syria, Güngördü stated that olive cultivation has been important in Cyprus from past to present but many trees have been lost due to buildings being erected and transportation to another area not being organised. In the last 4-5 years, with the increase in construction work, arrangements have been made to re-site olive trees.
The International Olive Cartoon Contest was held, in which 348 participants from 64 countries participated in this year’s festival with 802 works. Güngördü stated that they have an important place in cartoon art around the world and underlined that they have put together an important business with the Turkish Cypriot Cartoonists Association for the promotion of Northern Cyprus to the world.
Antalya Muratpaşa Mayor Umit Uysal and his delegation, Mayor of Ayvalik Rahmi Gençer and his delegation left the island on Sunday 7th October, while other guests and committees left the country on the 8th and 9th October. The 17th Olive Festival closed on the 9th October at the village square with a Bülent Ortaçgil concert.