Syrian ‘piano genius’ flies to Russia for competition after receiving Turkish citizenship
DHA PhotoA Syrian teenager living in Turkey, who has made headlines as a piano “genius,” was set to fly to Russia on Dec. 10 for an international competition after being granted Turkish citizenship after an intense diplomatic procedure.
Tambi Asaad, 16, who ended up in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa with his family after fleeing his war-ravaged country in 2012, had his talent discovered at a regular music center in the city.
Asaad will participate in the Savshinsky International Competition in St. Petersburg upon the urging of Tamara Poddubnaya, the head of the Long Island Conservatory Piano Department, who described him as “an incredible talent.” Poddubnaya expressed her wish to admit him to the conservatory in New York, but asked him to earn his international degrees before applying to the school.
However, the boy was not able to travel to Russia with his Syrian passport, which triggered the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Şanlıurfa deputy Zeynep Karahan Uslu to step in to help him.
Uslu initiated the legal procedure and a demand to grant Asaad Turkish citizenship was sent to the Cabinet to allow him to travel.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally called Asaad at 10.00 p.m. to give the good news that his demand had been approved during the Dec. 8 Cabinet meeting.
Asaad picked up his identity card at 1.00 a.m. on Dec. 9, thanks to the efforts of AKP deputy Uslu who opened the registration office in the middle of the night.
The boy, with his new surname “Cimuk,” then travelled to Ankara to collect his passport before flying to Istanbul, from where he flew on to Russia.
Such a manic rush was necessary in order to let Cimuk arrive in Russia in time for the competition, which is set to kick off on Dec. 10.
Cimbuk has expressed his happiness and vowed to work hard to achieve international success in the name of Turkey.
“It’s not every day that the president calls you. He told me, ‘I signed off your citizenship. Congratulations. Turkey is now your homeland. You have to work harder now,’” he said.
He added that he was planning to continue his musical education in Germany or the U.S. but would strive to keep representing Turkey.