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.

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.

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.

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.

istanbulkartIstanbul’s smart transportation ticketing service “Istanbulkart” received the “Best Smart Card Ticketing Service” award on Wednesday at the Seventh Transport Ticketing & Passenger Information Global event held in London.

With over 20 million cards in circulation and continuing growth, the Istanbulkart system operated by the city’s transport body IETT received the award.

The jury assessment said the card system currently covers 98 percent of payments used in the city’s transportation system with over six million daily trips. The Istanbulkart is currently being used by 10 different transport operators throughout the city, a feature underlined with the jury statement.

The success of the system, along with its scale and effect over the lives of millions, were among the factors why the system was awarded.

Around a quarter of cards in circulation provide free or discount fares for commuters.

The card system includes 700 automatic top-up machines, 2,200 IETT sale and top-up dealers, 22 regular and two mobile application centers.


The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced a series of fare hikes that will come into effect on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The standard bus fare of TL 2.15 will be increase to TL 2.30, while the student price will be bumped up from TL 1.10 to TL 1.15.

The increase will also affect transfer prices. A standard transfer fare currently costs TL 1.45 but will be increased to TL 1.65 effective from Sunday, while student transfers will rise from Kr 45 to Kr 50.

The price increases pertain to those holding İstanbul cards, commonly used on all forms of public transit in the city. Single-use tokens, which cost TL 4, will remain the same price.

Despite gas prices being at their lowest level in years, in the $3 per barrel range, İstanbul continues to regularly raise the rates of transportation.

Though transit prices are still low in comparison to major European cities, they constitute a major segment of the salary of minimum wage earners, who rely on taking multiple buses a day to reach their workplaces.

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...