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Istanbul to host 13th OIC summit


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.

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Istanbul comes alive as tulip festival gets underway


It is impossible to think of Istanbul without the thought of tulips blooming around the city in April. The city joyfully celebrates the arrival of spring with the annual Tulip Festival, launched for the first time in 2005. During the festival, millions of tulips bloom throughout the parks of Istanbul while numerous events are organized, like the tulip carpet and art exhibitions.

Officially scheduled to run from April 9 to April 30, the 11th edition of the Istanbul Tulip Festival will begin at the Emirgan Grove, one of the largest public parks in Emirgan with pavilions, decorative ponds and more than 120 species of plants. The beautiful grove has always been associated with tulips and the special garden was established to revive the city’s tulip tradition. The Emirgan Grove is a popular recreation area for local people with its jogging tracks and picnic areas.

The festival will continue at Göztepe 60. Yıl Park in Kadıköy and Sultanahmet Square with a rich program of exhibitions, symposiums, sports activities and live performances.

A giant tulip carpet spanning over 728,000 square meters will be made at Sultanahmet Square for only the second time, using 536,000 tulips. The festival will feature local music groups, marble- and glass-making artists as well as stands selling tulip-themed products. Craftsmen will also design tulip-inspired items made of crystal and silk.

At Taksim Cumhuriyet Art Gallery, an exhibition on traditional tile-making “Lale Bahçeli Sokaklar” (Streets with Tulip Gardens) will open by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Art and Vocational Training Courses (İSMEK). The İSMEK products will also be available at Emirgan Grove and the Göztepe 60. Yıl Park. Additionally, tulip sculptures and a painting exhibition by renowned artist İsmail Acar will be at Emirgan Grove. Tulip seeds can be purchased at these three locations.

First launched in 2013, the Tulip Coup International Women’s Tennis Tournament and the second Tulip Beach Football Tournament will be organized as part of the upcoming festival. Last but not least, a photography competition “En Güzel Lale” (The Most Beautiful Tulip) will take place for those who like to photograph tulips blooming in gardens, groves and mansions around Istanbul. For the festival, millions of tulips were planted not only the main festival venues, but also Yıldız Grove, Beykoz Grove, Fethipaşa Grove, Hidiv Çubuklu Grove, Gözdağı Grove, Büyük Çamlıca Grove and Küçük Çamlıca Grove. The festival is undertaken by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Last year, the festival took place between April 11 to May 3.

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Istanbul Jazz Festival announces program


Over 200 Turkish and international musicians will participate in the 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival, giving music lovers in Istanbul the chance to see jazz legends in approximately 50 concerts performed at more than 20 venues.

The festival program includes a range of jazz, funk, world music, blues and rock performances, with highlights including the legendary Nile Rodgers and his group Chic, as well as current and former members of The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music with Damon Albarn, Kamasi Washington, Laura Mvula, Ernest Ranglin, Hugh Coltman, Joss Stone, Vintage Trouble and Gregory Porter also performing.

An event will be presented by Blur front man Damon Albarn’s project, Africa Express. The project brings together current and former members of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, led by conductor Issam Rafea. The group, which will reassemble for a number of gigs, will perform on the opening day of the festival on June 27 at Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater.

The king of disco and funk, the face of the Fender Stratocaster, and the composer of almost a third of our best loved hits, from the songs of Madonna to David Bowie, Rodgers will give his first concert in Turkey together with his group Chic on June 28 at Küçük Çiftlik Park.

The festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to musicians Özdemir Erdoğan and Ergüven Başaran. Following the ceremony, Başaran will take to the stage with Swing UNLTD. The event will be topped off with a performance by a sought-after group of the New York swing scene, The Hot Sardines.

One of the most industrious figures in Turkish popular music and Jazz, Erdoğan will also offer jazz lovers an evening of nostalgia.

This year’s festival also hosts Washington, the new master of the saxophone and modern jazz. One of the foremost representatives of contemporary jazz, Washington will perform at the Beykoz Kundura, which is being used as a festival venue for the first time this year.

On July 15, the Uniq Open-Air Theater will witness a one-of-a-kind special project, French Quarter, revealing the best bits of contemporary French jazz to festival-goers. After this performance, Coltman will take the stage with his vocal style reminiscent of Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, performing songs from his “Shadows” album, an homage to the inner world of Nat King Cole.

The festival program will also feature a children’s event for the first time. “A Childlike Day” will feature performances by Oran Etkin Timbalooloo and the Music for Peace Brass Band, while also giving children the chance to discover their musical talents and take part in fun workshops.

The living Jamaican legend, founding father of reggae and creator of energetic ska melodies, Ranglin, will present an upbeat concert with his legendary group formed of Tony Allen, Courtney Pine, Cheikh Lo, Alex Wilson and Ira Coleman. Support comes from The Budos Band, who will take to the stage to perform their afrobeat and funk melodies.

Night Out concerts
The “Night Out” event, which took place last year in various venues in Kadıköy, will feature concerts by musicians and groups including Elif Çağlar, DANdadaDAN, Son Feci Bisiklet, Plaistow, Hey Douglas and Önder Focan & Şallıel Bros.

British singer-songwriter Laura Mvula will perform together with Jacob Collier, heralded by The Guardian as “jazz music’s new messiah” in the historical garden of the Embassy of Germany Tarabya Summer Residence on July 22.

One of the strongest voices to come out of the British music scene, Stone returns to Istanbul for the festival. Hailed as the Aretha Franklin of the 2000s, she will return to Istanbul where she will delight festival-goers with catchy songs, old and new, lively and romantic, on July 23.

On July 25, at Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater, American jazz vocalist and winner of the 2014 Grammy Award for best jazz album Porter will take to the stage with impressive jazz vocalist Roberta Gambarini. They will perform alongside the TRT Popular Music and Jazz Orchestra, formed of masters of the Turkish music scene such as Neşet Ruacan and Ferit Odman, in a very special performance for festival-goers. Later in the evening Porter will also perform songs from his latest album.

European Jazz Club sessions at Salon
The European Jazz Club, the event that brings the top names from the Turkish jazz scene together with European virtuosos, will be held at Salon İKSV.

Volkan Topakoğlu featuring Matthias Konrad, Ercüment Orkut “Low Profile” featuring Marius Neset, Big Beats Big Times / Full Moon Theory Live, Çağıl Kaya Band featuring Airelle Besson and Bulut Gülen Quintet featuring Yuri Honing and the Eylem Pelit Band will take the stage as part of the event.

On July 18 and 19, Zorlu Center PSM will host festival artists. Among the artists to share the stage in the venue will be Cyrus Chestnut, Buster Williams and Lenny Whitem, the Branford Marsalis Quartet and Kurt Elling, Antonio Sanchez and Migration and Brad Mehldau, Mark Guilian and John Scofield.

Tickets for the 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival go on sale on April 16.

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Etihad Airways expands Istanbul services


Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airways recently announced its intent to expand its services to Istanbul during 2016 with a new four times weekly service to Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

The service will commence on 1 July 2016 and be served by an Airbus A320-200, with 16 seats in business and 120 in economy. The airline already operates a daily service to Istanbul Ataturk Airport but market demand has created an opportunity to deploy additional capacity into Sabiha Gokcen.

James Hogan, president and chief executive officer for Etihad Airways said: “Istanbul is a critically important market within our global network and we plan to serve both city airports to support our wider expansion plans. We have seen an increasing number of guests travelling between both UAE and Turkey and we want this trend to continue and grow during 2016.”

Etihad Airways originally launched services to Istanbul in June 2009. Today, the airline operates a daily service on the Airbus A330, with full network connectivity. Istanbul Ataturk is a popular destination within the Etihad Airways network, that it will host the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are also being added to other cities such as Dusseldorf, Perth, Shanghai and Johannesburg during 2016.

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German book exhibition in Istanbul


Finest German Books 2015As part of the 52nd Week of Libraries celebration, Goethe-Institut Istanbul will organize an exhibit displaying the “Finest German Books 2015” collection.

According to a written statement made by the institute, the 25-book collection is the result of a long-running contest that is organized in Germany by the Foundation of Book Arts every year.

With the contest, the foundation aims to highlight the design and quality of the book rather than its content and draw attention to the shape of book.

Foreign publishing houses can join the contest but the book should be completely produced in Germany.

The “Most Beautiful 25 Books” were chosen based on their design, concept and workmanship.

Among 756 books sent to the contest, a jury of two experts has chosen 25 of the “most beautiful” books, including five books in different five categories.

These five categories included “general literature,” “scientific books, school books, educational books,” “guide books, research books,” “art and photography books, exhibition catalogues” and “children and youth books.”

After being displayed in the stand of the Frankfurt Book Fair during the TÜYAP Book Fair in Istanbul in November last year, the collection was bequeathed to the Goethe-Institut Istanbul.

The exhibition is open between March 30 and April 2.

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Paintings of 19th-century Istanbul to be displayed on giant screens


Picturesque IstanbulThe “Picturesque Istanbul” digital exhibition will kick off with the support of the Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) at Istanbul’s Naval Museum on March 12. The exhibition will continue until May 22 and display the paintings of Istanbul by 19th century painter-travelers Antoine Ignaz Melling, Joseph Schranz, Thomas Allom, William Henry Bartlett, John F. Lewis and Ivan Ayvazovski as “digital travel books” on giant screens.

The musical score for the exhibition was both composed and arranged by accomplished piano virtuoso Anjelika Akbar. Featuring subtitles in English and Arabic, the exhibition offers an entertaining time to art lovers.

The first section of the exhibition will be at Istanbul Naval Museums’ Barbaros Hall and will offer interactive information about the six artists whose works are featured in the display. The second section features huge screens – 4.5 meters high and 60 meters wide CodexArt surfaces. Scenery from 19th century Istanbul is paired with music from the era for 35 minutes. Blending the art of painting and music, “Picturesque Istanbul” will host Anjelika Akbar every day between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and the audience will have a chance to study paintings and gravures while listening to Akbar’s music.

Speaking about the exhibition the TÜROB president said: “While this project is supported by our association that always stresses the collaboration of tourism with art and culture, we believe that it will be an attractive tourism product for the local and foreign visitors.”

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