The Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations UK (CTCA UK), or KONSEY as it is more commonly known, is gearing up to one of its biggest ever events this summer. On Sunday 25 June, they will be hosting the Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival at the Chingford Rugby Club in East London.
This all-day event promises a mix of traditional and contemporary Turkish Cypriot culture, music, art and dance, we well as stalls selling handicrafts, and freshly made sweet and savoury dishes. There will also be workshops so people can learn about traditional Turkish Cypriot arts and foods.
The festival is a precursor to Turkish Cypriots celebrating their centenary in Britain, which will officially kick off in November this year.
Turkish Cypriots celebrating their centenary in Britain
When Britain formally annexed Cyprus on 5 November 1914, its Turkish citizens were given the opportunity to return to Ottoman Turkey or remain on the island. While many Turkish Cypriots did return to their motherland, a few took advantage of an Order in Council passed on 27 November 1917, which regulated the nationality of all remaining Ottoman Cypriot citizens. As British subjects, Turkish Cypriots were permitted to travel and settle in the United Kingdom with the first few migrants arriving in London by the end of that year.
Commenting on this important milestone, CTCA UK chairwoman Leyla Kemal said:
“For the past 100 years, we have laid down community roots wherever we have migrated and created our very own little Cyprus. We brought art, culture, and business, we set up our football clubs, we safeguarded our togetherness and managed to survive and to stand tall.”
“For the past 100 years, we have laid down community roots wherever we have migrated & created our very own little Cyprus”
Today, an estimated quarter of a million Britons are thought to have Turkish Cypriot ancestry. The community is no longer concentrated in North and South East London, but living all across the country. It’s for this reason CTCA UK is keen for its new June festival to become an annual fixture in the community’s social calendar, helping to bring people together to celebrate their roots.
Mrs Kemal called on British Turkish Cypriot business owners to support the festival and wider work of KONSEY, which aims to unify the community’s diverse organisations under a single co-ordinating umbrella. Those interested in sponsoring the festival should contact her or her vice chairs, Işık Vedat (Ukay Catering) and Tuğrul Yiğitoğlu (Accounting Direct Plus).
So save the date and look out for more details about this ticketed family-friendly festival in June, where you can savour the tastes, sounds and vibes of Turkish Cyprus.
Event name: Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival
Date: Sunday 25 June 2017
Address: Chingford Rugby Club, Lea Valley Playing Fields, Chingford, London E4 8AW.
Facebook: CTCA UK
Picture collage (top) of Turkish Cypriot culture comprising: şeftali kebab, sesta and lokma.