In the run-up to the German-Turkish Friendship Festival in Izmir, the organizational team of the Izmir Consulate and Alaturka had engaged the Augsburg band Backdoor Connection, who were to be invited as musical guests to the Friendship Day.
Still on the road in Germany, it was high time to return to Izmir when the band asked us to take some stage equipment with us. So the way back to Izmir via Augsburg was necessary, where a guitar amplifier, foot pedals, keyboard and music stands were loaded.
All German musicians probably sniff cocaine
No problem at all, so things went in good spirits to the Macedonian border, where an older customs officer sensed big "loot". After a first quick look at the musicians' equipment, it was clear to him that an intoxicant was also being smuggled. A colleague who was called, who spoke tolerable German, then explained with a mild smile and a twinkle in the eye that all musicians would probably snort cocaine, hence the tightened controls. However, he clearly had a different opinion than his colleague. Be that as it may, after about 1 hour of unloading and then stowing away again, this hurdle was also overcome. Now we were excited about the control at the Turkish border, which could then be completed later without any problems. The meaning and purpose of the transport was briefly explained and the formalities were completed. Exemplary, our respect.
Event is supported by the Great Municipality of Izmir and sponsors
On Saturday afternoon, as agreed with the consulate and Backdoor Connection, the stage equipment that had been brought along could be unloaded and set up. A short time later, the consulate invited the guests from the twin towns of Izmir and Torballi from the district of Wunsiedel and the city of Hamm, as well as the musicians, to dinner. Around 3:00 p.m., all the guests were back on the site of the former fire station, now APIKAM (Ahmet Priştina Kent Arşivi ve Müzesi), in Çankaya/Izmir, where there was already a lot of activity. Many of the participating companies and providers of epicurean food and drinks, the exhibiting providers of ecological products, the surf school, the language schools and the participating institutes were busy setting up their stands, and the first guests were already on the site. As in the previous year, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German School Izmir, the Regional Development Agency Izmir (IZKA), the Goethe Institute Izmir, the local representatives of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Women's Circle, the Bremeninvest Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH and the Branch of the German-Turkish Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Izmir came together in an organizing committee to prepare for the Friendship Day. The event is supported by the Izmir Metropolitan Government and sponsors including Alaturka and Sunexpress.
Margit Häberle, Consul General and Jens Börnsen, President of the Bremen Senate
With a musical opening by the band Backdoor Connection, a short introductory explanation of the festival in German and Turkish by Mrs. Özlem Guenerli from the Goethe Institute, under the patronage of the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Margit Häberle, and the Lord Mayor of the city of Izmir, Aziz Kocaoğlu, the German-Turkish Friendship Day was opened with a short opening speech by the Consul General. Guest of honour at this year's German-Turkish Friendship Day was the President of the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Mayor Jens Böhrnsen. Bremen and Izmir have been twinned for many years. The Lord Mayor of the City of Izmir, Mr. Aziz Kocaoğlu, and the Mayor of Bremen, Jens Böhrnsen, also spoke a few introductory words at the opening of the Friendship Day and on German-Turkish relations in particular. After the official speeches had now been completed, a hustle and bustle could be felt on the premises, as countless visitors had already gathered.
Harmonious festival between Germans and Turks
According to the schedule, various schools performed with a variety of dance performances (you can find the exact schedule here), ticket sellers sold their tickets in a raffle, and all proceeds were earmarked for a charitable purpose. This year, the proceeds from the raffle were donated to the “Çiğli Fakir Kimsesiz Ve Zihinsel Engellileri Koruma Derneği” association, which takes care of mentally handicapped children and young adults. Barbecue booths and beer stands were very popular due to the wonderful weather. There was fresh cake with filter coffee as well as masses of information on various products or leisure activities, so that everyone involved had a lively need for discussion.
The German Women's Circle organized a book flea market where you could buy reading material in German. The two stands of the partner cities from Hamm and the district of Wunsiedel, which took the opportunity to present themselves and their region, were well attended; the same applies to the stands of the Goethe Institute and the German School. In addition to the hustle and bustle at the stands, there was enough time and leisure to retreat to one of the numerous benches and tables for a chat over coffee and cake, so that informative discussions could take place. A very harmonious festival between Germans and Turks in the otherwise hectic city of Izmir.
After the dance groups of the schools, the performances of the band Büyüksehir Belediyesi Bando Pop Orchestresi from Izmir and the band Backdoor Connection followed on the stage. In the course of the performance, a few visitors even dared to shake a leg, also in a colorful mixture of "old" and "young", Turkish and German. What role does nationality still play when you can exchange ideas and enjoy each other's culture.
Produce a song for Izmir
Towards the end of Backdoor Connection's concert, which was scheduled to kick off the Champions League final, there was so much applause and enthusiasm that it was enough for even two encores before the game kicked off. Shortly before, hectic activity had again been noticed in the entrance area, which also made it necessary to move some vehicles: the mayor of the city of Izmir, Mr. Aziz Kocaoğlu, and the mayor of Bremen, Jens Böhrnsen, insisted on attending the football final together with a large part of their delegations to watch the visitors of the German-Turkish Friendship Day in the open air. Public viewing also has its supporters in Izmir. Surprisingly, the supporters of the two clubs were almost equally represented among the Germans as well as among the Turkish spectators, so one could at least interpret the corresponding applause behaviour.
Our comment on the final itself: both teams deserved to win the Champions League. A great performance by both teams, which is perhaps based not least on the colorful mix of many different nationalities and mentalities of the players and which is why it harmonizes so well with each other, especially after so much training, exchange and practice among all the players. In any case, without acceptance of the culture and mentality of the respective other, the sporting achievements as a team sport would not be possible.
One more reason to emulate the teams and learn to preserve and share cultural assets. The German-Turkish Friendship Day is a successful example of this on an interpersonal level.
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