The “ARKIN GROUP Girne Fest 23,” organized by Girne Municipality with the main sponsorship of Arkın Group, began with the 15th Ozanköy Pekmez Festival which took place between 1-3rd September 2023. The festival’s opening was attended by President Ersin Tatar, Speaker of the Republic Assembly Zorlu Töre, Republican Turkish Party leader Tufan Erhürman, Girne Mayor Murat Şenkul, some members of parliament, and citizens.
Speaking at the festival’s opening, Girne Mayor Murat Şenkul said that the festival, sponsored by Arkın Group, would last for 40 days and started in Ozanköy. Mayor Şenkul emphasized that Girne should not only be associated with gambling tourism, stating that Girne’s natural and cultural richness is also a gem in tourism. He noted that their goal is to highlight Girne’s natural and cultural beauty, just as it used to be, and offer it to tourists, highlighting the importance of the festival in this regard.
Republican Turkish Party leader Tufan Erhürman expressed his gratitude to Girne Municipality for organizing a long-lasting festival during these difficult times, saying that such events provide great morale to the people. Erhürman also mentioned that, besides festivals, Girne Municipality will change Girne’s face with significant projects, making it a modern and contemporary city. He added that they want to see themselves as Girne locals in such events.
Following this, Speaker of the Republic Assembly Zorlu Töre reminded that festivals held in various places in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, featured products produced locally, bring people together and play a significant role in preserving cultural heritage for the future.
President Ersin Tatar, who attended the festival’s opening, emphasized the importance of preserving and passing on the values that reflect Turkish Cypriot culture to future generations. President Tatar also mentioned the great pain caused by the major earthquake that occurred in the Republic of Turkey on February 6th, saying that it is impossible to forget such tragedies. However, he emphasized that life continues, and we should appreciate the beauty we possess.
The President highlighted that Girne is one of the most beautiful spots in the Eastern Mediterranean and that these beauties gain more meaning when shared with the local community. He also expressed his gratitude to everyone who makes efforts to preserve our cultural heritage and promoting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus through organized festivals.
In addition to food and beverage stalls, the festival saw a high turnout for the sale of handmade products.
During the event, a traditional Şira drinking ceremony took place, followed by a performance by Girne Municipality folk dance group. Cemal Arslangazi provided musical entertainment to the festival attendees.
Following the performance by the Değirmenlik Folk Dance Group, Bikem Tunar gave a concert accompanied by World Peace Day Songs, and Feyzan Korur presented a poetry reading.
The festival continued on Saturday with poetry readings, folk dance performances, and a presentation on the history of the Carob tree. The event concluded on Sunday with a concert by Hikmet Kurtarıcıoğulları.