The ancient spring festival of Nevruz was celebrated in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on Wednesday in a festival organized by an international Turkish organization.
The festival, organized by the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), was attended by more than 70 artists, performers, and musicians from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Moldova.
Speaking at the event, TURKSOY head Dusen Kaseinov expressed pleasure at introducing Turkic culture to other regions worldwide.
“When we see happy people, that means that TURKSOY has done its job,” Yalcin Topcu, a top advisor to Turkey’s president, told Anadolu Agency.
He added that these kinds of events boost amity between states and regions and so strengthen friendship worldwide.
“I invite the entire Christian world, especially Bulgarian society, to worship at the Iron Church [in Istanbul] and experience Turkish hospitality,” Topcu added.
The recently restored historic Bulgarian church, also known as St. Stephen Church, is located in the Balat neighborhood on the shore of Istanbul’s Golden Horn.
Attending the festival were Turkey’s Ambassador to Sofia Hasan Ulusoy, Kazakh Embsassy Charge d’Affaires Temiray Izbastin, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Sofia Nargiz Gurbanova, and Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 80, the last king of Bulgaria, and his wife Margarita.
Though largely Christian, Bulgaria has a sizeable Turkish-Muslim minority of about 8 percent.
TURKSOY, which calls itself the UNESCO of the Turkic world, was founded in 1993 by the culture ministers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.
The international body has been carrying out activities to strengthen ties of brotherhood and solidarity among Turkic peoples, pass down the common Turkic culture to future generations, and introduce it to the world.