New Year celebrations rock Turkey
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
As in previous years, Beyoğlu’s İstiklal Avenue was rushed by people for the New Year celebrations. The bars and restaurants on the avenue was full until early hours in the morning. Hundreds of people in some other Turkish towns of temperate climate welcomed 2012 with artificial snowfall just like in the southern province of Antalya. DHA PhotoRevelers in Istanbul rang in the new year as in the past with large street parties in Taksim Square and Nişantaşı.
Despite cold and partially rainy weather in the city, people rushed to square and İstiklal Avenue long before the bell struck midnight. Bars and restaurants on İstiklal were especially full until the morning hours, Anatolia news agency reported.
Citizens and tourists in Taksim Square gathered around the Republic Monument and made a countdown into the New Year. In the first minutes of 2012, some people climbed the monument and shouted slogans while others danced the halay.
Also, a group of Libyans living in Turkey unfurled Turkish and Libyan flags in Taksim and celebrated the event to together.
Meanwhile, two people were detained on suspicions of pick-pocketing while another was taken into custody for alleged sexual harassment during the Taksim celebrations, Istanbul police chief Hüseyin Çapkın said, adding that fewer people took part in the festivities due to the rain.
DJ performances marked the night in another place famous for its New Year’s celebrations, Nişantaşı’s Abdi İpekçi Avenue, while a red carpet was rolled out down the street. Revelers danced all night under artificial snow and were treated to laser and fireworks shows.
New Year’s celebrations were also held in other parts of the country. Residents of the capital Ankara entered the new year in Güvenpark as in previous years. People who came to the central square of Kızılay gathered around Güvenpark and lit torches and set off fireworks for the first moments of 2012.
Residents of İzmir came together in Cumhuriyet Square under rainfall. Group 84 performed a New Year’s concert during the night, Anatolia news agency reported.
Wishing balloons in ski center
Popular ski centers like Palandöken and Uludağ were also very busy on New Year’s Eve. There was an alternative New Year’s program organized in the eastern province of Erzurum’s Palandöken Ski Center, which was home to the 25th World Winter Sports in 2011, Anatolia reported.
The ski center’s Dedeman Resort Hotel hosted tourists from Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Colombia and organized a wishing balloon event, a different trend in recent years rather than fireworks shows. Tourists welcomed in the new year by writing their wishes on balloons and sending them off into the sky. A belly dancer also entertained the guests under snowfall.
Uludağ in the northwestern province of Bursa was also very popular among Turkish and foreign tourists. Tourists, especially from eastern European countries, had partied in hotel ballrooms in the ski center. Day trippers, who came to the hotels region in Uludağ, also took part in the fun.
In Cappadocia, one of Turkey’s most important tourist centers, tourists welcomed in 2012 with oriental and folklore dances in underground entertainment centers. Many domestic and foreign tourists from Germany, Italy, France and the Far East participated in Turkish nights and special balls organized in the area.
Many others chose to welcome the new year in holiday resorts. Shows were organized in Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye in the Aegean province of Muğla.
Turkish singer Sertab Erener took the stage at İskele Square in Bodrum under tight security measures; various fireworks shows were also part of the celebrations.
People in Fethiye listened to a folk concert by “Yarenler,” which was formed by British-origin tourists living in the town.
The main center for celebrations in Marmaris was Atatürk Square and Barlar Street. People gathered in the square despite the rainy weather and rang in 2012 with fireworks organized by Marmaris Municipality.
In the southern province of Antalya, a group of people called “The group that swims in summer and winter” welcomed in 2012 in the sea. They gathered at Konyaaltı Beach Park No: 1 and swam in the sea despite rain. They also opened a banner written “We warm up freezing waters with our warm hearts.” People on the shore applauded the group.
Against all odds, new year was also celebrated in the earthquake-hit province of Van. Van Gov. Münir Karaoğlu came together with earthquake victims in celebrations organized in tent cities set up in the city center.
Various celebrations, organized by different institutions for children, started in the noon and continued until late hours, with local artists performing Turkish and Kurdish songs. Karaoğlu also gave presents to three lucky families that won a prize draw. World motocross champion Kenan Sofuoğlu and Turkey Women’s Rally champion Burcu Çetinkaya also spent New Year’s Eve with earthquake victims.