Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday.

According to a statement from the president’s office on Thursday, the April 14-15 summit will be attended by prime ministers and presidents from over 30 countries.

The international meeting, with the theme “Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace”, is expected to discuss the situation in numerous Muslim countries, including Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, as well as the fight against terrorism.

The summit, which will also include foreign ministers and senior officials’ preparatory meetings, will end with a declaration.

İstanbul, which is renowned for its rich history and culture got its own internet domain names .istanbul and .ist following the signing of a protocol between the Municipality of Istanbul and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Starting Wednesday, domain names designated for Istanbul will be available, ICANN’s vice president David Olive said, and added that ‘everybody will know Istanbul soon.’

Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbaş also praised the initiative and said that it is an innovative project which will make Istanbul a national brand.

Topbaş noted that the domain names will be available for public institutions after March, followed by organizations and foundations. He added that individual applications will be accepted after May 10.

Istanbul mayor’s personal website has been changed as as a surprise and he said that everyone else who would like to get their own website with .istanbul can do so from now on.

A total of 160 boats were sold or ordered for a total of 50 million euros during the 35th International Istanbul Boat Show on Oct. 6-11.

Small sailboats and motor yachts, sold for between 64,000 and 150,000 euros, were the most popular products at the fair, which was held at the Pendik Marintürk Istanbul City Port.

Numerous yachts, motor yachts and ultra-luxurious boats, worth around 250 million euros, were exhibited at the 2015 edition of the International Istanbul Boat Show, which was visited by over 15,000 people.

Around $450 million worth of yachts are sold in Turkey annually. The total volume of the sector is estimated at around $5.5 billion in Turkey, which ranks third world-wide in mega-yacht production, according to sector representatives. There are 62 yacht marinas in the country with a docking capacity of 17,500 units, much lower than another Mediterranean country, Italy, which has the capacity of 178,000 docking spaces.

Around 1 million yachts cruise in the Mediterranean Sea annually.
The global yacht charter market has made a steady recovery since the financial crisis, and a new report by Future Market Insights (FMI) estimates it to amplify at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent through 2020. According to the report, titled “Yacht Charter Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2020,” Eastern Europe (including Russia and Turkey), the rest of Europe (north, south and west) and North America are the most lucrative regions for the yacht market. FMI’s analysis found these three regions collectively accounted for nearly 75 percent of the market share in 2014.

The yacht charter market in Eastern Europe is projected to witness 7.2 percent growth through 2020, according to the report. FMI estimated the Eastern Europe yacht charter market to be worth $13.6 billion by 2020. Turkey is the most popular charter destination in Eastern Europe, according to the report.

Master of choreography to present a visual feast in IstanbulFamous choreographer Jessica Lang has created more than 80 works for companies worldwide since 1999. She artistically transforms classical ballet into modern masterpieces with emotional attraction. Lang’s choreography has been performed by numerous educational institutions such as the Juilliard School, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, the Ailey/Fordham Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, Marymount Manhattan College, State University of New York Purchase College, Southern Methodist University, Princeton University, University of Richmond and Point Park.

Founded by Lang in 2011, Jessica Lang Dance Company (JLD) has been performing at distinguished venues and festivals as a New York-based dance company. As part of its winter/spring 2015 world tour, JLD will perform in eight cities including an international engagement in Istanbul to inspire global audiences with the beauty of dance and music. With a well-rounded repertoire including “Lines Cubed,” “White,” “Mendelssohn Incomplete,” “The Calling,” “Scape,” “Aria” and “Among the Stars,” JLD is ready to present a visual feast to audience in Istanbul on April 9-10 at İş Sanat.

For those who want to know more about JLD, Daily Sabah conducted an interview with the leader and founder of the group, Jessica Lang.

What or who gave you the idea for the Jessica Lang Dance Company?

Jessica Lang: In 2010 I had been working for 11 years as a freelance choreographer. I worked with various dance companies like Joffrey Ballet, Birgmingham Royal Ballet and a lot of companies around the U.S. And I started to feel like I must do something to reach my potential. I was always the guest of the companies and could never reach my potential because there were not always the same dancers. I was not working with the same group of dancers. I was constantly trying to get to know people and then the relationship would be over after two weeks and then I moved on to another company. So I became restless, and simultaneously the Joyce Theatre in New York nominated me for a grant. They gave me money and time and space. And I was awarded this grant. And that was the seed money for the beginning of the company. And that was the opportunity to create a group of dancers. With that, multiple things had to happen. A gentleman stepped forward who is a patron of the arts and familiar with this environment and offered to make my nonprofit organization in the U.S. He settled up my business structure and financial contributions to sustain us. And then we took part in Jacob Pillow’s Dance Festival and presented our company as a debut. So in 2012 we presented the Jessica Lang Dance Company for the first time. So this natural, organic process led us to these days. If only one of these opportunities had not existed then we could not have managed it.

As a professional you have created a lot of different choreographies. Which is your favorite?

J.L:You know, maybe it is funny but it is like children. I don’t have any, but I cannot pick up one as my favorite. Each one is so valuable to me. Maybe each one has a different difficult process. Or it might be an easy process. I feel like my memory is more tangible with the one I most recently created, “The Wanderer.” That is very special to me because I had been thinking about it for a long time. I also really like “The Calling,” which is really personal and beautiful. I also love the piece that I made for the Birmingham Royal Ballet because I think the process was so genuinely wonderful, from the dancers to the cast, musicians, costumes, lighting and all the other components. So these feel really embedded in my heart.

Were there ever days you maybe didn’t want to dance or create any choreography, and on those days, what pulled you out of that mindset?

J.L: Hahaha, well, you know, sometimes you just want to do something else and feel like you miss it. Creating is a hard process, you need to change your mind, take care of yourself, treat yourself and stimulate a different energy. Of course sometimes there can be exhaustion or frustration, that’s so natural. But it never turns to hate.

Who is your inspiration in the dance world?

J.L: In terms of the dance world, I can say that definitely my company is. Dancers I have in my company are really my inspiration at this point. And my husband is a dancer, too. I am really inspired by him as well. As far as a career, I truly admire Mark Morris. I believe he is really successful throughout the U.S. His vision for his own company is really inspiring. He is a very active person in directing and creating. I think he has a really unique business model. He is able to be creative constantly. I find all these people admirable.

Do you have any special preshow rituals?

J.L: As a company we hold hands just to connect and feel each other. It’s a kind of being focused before the performance. That’s it.

Can you share a little bit about the repertoire of the upcoming Jessica Lang Dance performance in Istanbul?

J.L: Well, we’ll open the program with “Lines Cubed.” It is inspired by the painter Piet Mondrian. We follow that with the women trio called “Aria.” And then we continue with “Among the Stars,” a folkloric tale that reflects deep emotions and has a poetic style. And “The Calling,” which is a beautiful solo, very spiritual. And we finish the program with the piece called “Scape,” which I created for the Kennedy Center last year with the National Symphony Orchestra. It’s a beautiful dance piece. And the second night, the program only varies in two pieces. We will add a gentle piece called “Mendelssohn Incomplete.” It’s incomplete because I have not finished the work. It’s only one movement. It’s about Mendelssohn’s piano trio in D. And the last one is “White.” I created this piece on film like a duet of slow motion and real time.

Where do you see Jessica Lang Dance 10 years from now?

J.L: My goal in the near future is to have a space in New York in Queens, which is the borough where I live and where we based our company. Much like I have talked about Mark Morris, he is very encouraging to me to make a difference in Queens much like he has done in Brooklyn. So I hope that we will have a school and space that I can use and create while I am still young enough to have a strong vision and to really get the most out of my heart. So that’s where I see the company, still touring, performing and connecting with the people in our community.

Details about the Kanal Istanbul Project, an artificial sea-level waterway and a new town to be located across 95 acres of land, have been released, indicating a downsizing of original plans.

It has reportedly been decided that the projected population and the number of bridges in the new town, which are to be established around Kanal Istanbul should be decreased. According to the new details, there will be six bridges and the town’s population is expected to be around 500,000 rather than 1,200,000 as previously estimated. The buildings will be a maximum of six-stories tall.

The urban design project was re-discussed in a meeting in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ministries were present. Planning of the new town had been made with the assumption that the population would be 1,200,000. But it was later decided that this number should be halved in order to avoid population density. The new town will be built on either side of Kanal Istanbul, and each side will house 250,000 people.

The dimensions of Kanal Istanbul have also been decided as 400 meters wide, 43 kilometers long and 25 meters deep. The new town will contain conference halls, tourism centers, parks and trade centers, and will reportedly have a silhouette and be built with Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate motifs.

The Kanal Istanbul project was announced by then PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2011 and is to be built on the European side of the city, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara leading to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. The project plans on bisecting the current European side of Istanbul, forming an island between the continents of Asia and Europe.

A special planning office will also be set up, to construct an environmentally friendly and modern settlement within the Kanal Istanbul project. A team of scientists, architects, urban planners and sociologists will study the soil and environmental conditions, and after a workshop is held for the plan, preparations for the new city will be completed.

According to protocol between BİMTAŞ (Construction Consultancy affiliated with the Municipality)and the Spatial Planning General Directorate of the Ministry of Environment and Urban Development, the project, which will be built between Küçükçekmece and Arnavutköy districts, will be financed by the ministry.

1. Go underground and walk the fascinating ancient 6th century water-storage system with its tunnels and tanks. Look out for the statue of Medusa hidden in a corner.

2. Be dazzled by a tour of the Blue Mosque. Inside it there are 260 stained glass windows and around 20,000 shimmering blue-green tiles. Find it on Sultanahmet Square.

3. Look up at the golden tiles lining the dome of the ancient cathedral, Aya Sofia. It was built back in AD 537 in the days when the city was called Constantinople. It was later turned into a mosque but is now a museum.

4. Book you ticket to tour the Harem at Topkapi Palace. It’s the oldest palace in the world and similar to the Alhambra in Granada. The Harem is the maze of rooms where the sultan’s wives and concubines used to live.

5. See where Florence Nightingale tended the troops in the Crimean War back in the 19th Century. The museum at Selimiye Barracks still has two of her famous lamps on display.

6. Catch sunset on the Galata Bridge, which spans old and new Istanbul. There’s a walkway either side of the bridge backed by lively cafes, bars and restaurants.

7. Go bargain hunting at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with 5,000 shops spreading over 60 streets. Smell the spices and leather goods.

8. Admire the artistry of the Turkish carpet display in The Great Hall at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.

9. Take a ferry on The Bosphorus. The narrow waterway divides the Europe half of Istanbul on the Western shore, from the Asian half on the East.

10. Wrap yourself in traditional cotton and relax in the steamy surroundings of a traditional Turkish bath.The Cemberlitas Baths is one of the oldest, dating back to the 1500s.

Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...


Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...