World Bulletin / News Desk
The 651st traditional Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling and Cultural Activities Festival officially began on Friday with a parade through Edirne.
The longest continuously held sporting competition in the world kicked off in the northwestern province of Edirne with a celebratory march led by Edirne Mayor Hamdi Sedefçi and this year’s sponsor, Seyfettin Selim.
Following these two men were athletes, representatives from civil society organizations, sponsors from years past and musicians playing traditional drums and pipes. Last year’s winner of the title of chief wrestler, Ali Gürbüz, carried the Turkish flag in the parade. The group proceeded from the city center to the Talatpaşa motorway.
Before the procession began, Sedefçi met Selim to present him with flowers and the Golden Belt that will be awarded, along with the title of chief wrestler, to the winner of this weekend’s competition.
This year, 1,248 wrestlers of various weight classes arrived in Edirne to compete at a stadium in Sarayiçi Er Meydanı in the northwest of the city.
After the procession, the ceremony continued in the Pehlivan Cemetery at Selimiye Mosque, where Edirne mufti (religious leader) Ömer Taşçıoğlu recited the prayer traditionally offered before the competition.
The first day of the festival brought out the youngest wrestlers, who competed in the junior and encouragement rounds. These lower categories are typically composed of younger, smaller wrestlers, as young as 12. The young athletes are put into categories by the judges with respect to their size, age and wrestling history.
The competition will conclude with the announcement of the chief wrestler and an awards ceremony on Sunday.
Kırkpınar’s fame has been spreading to the rest of the world. In 2010, UNESCO added the Kırkpınar festival to its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list. The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage describes items on the list as providing generations “with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.”
Turkish Prime Minister says Turkey plans to build third nuclear power plant as a national project
Repeating his call to avert further bloodshed and keep the peace process on track, Ocalan said his hopes of a solution had been boosted.
Istanbul prosecutor presents indictment to a court over fatal elevator accident in Istanbul.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calls for support for the Free Syrian Army fighting ISIL
The Minister of Family and Social Policies is working to eliminate obstacles that disabled face in getting a job
Prime Minister Davutoglu explains use of new powers will be monitored by a parliamentary rights watchdog
Doctors are monitoring the condition of those returned from the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this year as respiratory virus claims one life and hospitalizes two more in Turkey
Turkey government budget forecast expects 94.4 billion Turkish lira from the special consumption tax in the coming year
"We are taking the same measures as Europe and the U.S. regarding security," says Erdogan, defending the introduction of a bill to extend police powers.
The natural gas pipeline, which may be used by Bulgaria and Greece, will be built by BOTAS, in the northwestern Turkish city of Corlu
The recent successes of young Turkish women in winning major international science awards has turned the spotlight on technology and education in the country.
Suspects allegedly eavesdropped on politicians, journalists, lawyers and military officers while working for an illegal organization
Turkey's allowing peshmerga to cross into Syria to fight against ISIL militants in Kobani is extensively covered by Turkish dailies Tuesday
EU Commission releases its first report on the progress Turkey has made towards lifting visa obligations for Turkish citizens
Series of deaths come amid pro-Kurdish protests around country
Press TV journalist dies after her car crashed into a construction vehicle near the border