HATAY - Anatolia News Agency
The Civilization Choir of Antakya has 130 members from three different religions. It will take the stage in European Union member countries for Turkey’s promotion. DHA photo
The Civilization Choir of Antakya, composed of members from the southern city’s rich mosaic of peoples, is set to bring messages of friendship and peace to the world with 14 concerts in 14 countries.
“The choir is a social responsibility project,” Yılmaz Özfırat, the chairman of the association overseeing the choir, said April 25 at a press conference at the Hatay Journalists Association. The choir’s goal was to show the people of the world that they can live together in a peaceful environment, he said.
The concerts will be organized as part of the Turkish Floating Exhibition project, a campaign to promote Turkey’s European Union
The choir, which was formed five years ago with people of various occupations in order to exhibit
Hatay’s tolerance and peaceful environment to the whole world, has so far performed many concerts both in Turkey and abroad, Özfırat said.
He said the choir, which includes 130 members from three different religions, would be on a vessel that would visit EU countries to support Turkey’s full membership in the 27-nation bloc.
“Eighty-six years after the first Turkey Floating exhibition, which was organized in 1926 on the order of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to promote the young Turkish Republic to the world, this time the modern Turkey, which has become a respected country politically and economically, will be promoted,” Özfırat said.
“Promotional works will be carried out in the ports of 14 countries, including Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Finland and Sweden between Oct. 22 and Nov. 22,” the chairman said. “During the event, the choir will deliver messages of friendship to the world.”
The choir, which has been nominated for the 2012 Nobel
Peace Prize, will also perform concerts in eastern and southeastern Anatolia, said Özfırat, adding that it would also sing two Kurdish songs during these concerts.
At each concert the choir requests the organizer donate a wheelchair to a person with disabilities or a charitable institution, Özfırat said. “Thanks to this project, many people with disabilities received wheelchairs. We have also collected money from among ourselves and helped two university students finish their education.”
Özfırat also said the fame of the choir was preceding it ahead of its upcoming concerts in the 14 EU countries.
Antakya is the center of the province of Hatay, which is widely known as being one of Turkey’s most heterogeneous provinces. The area along the Syrian border contains communities of Sunni
Arabs, Alawites, Arabic-speaking Christians, Armenians, Jews, Kurds and others.