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Keeping you up to date with news and information from Fethiye and around Turkey

Burns Night – a cultural exchange between Türkiye and Scotland

Held throughout the world on Burns Night (or on an evening close to it) a traditional Burns supper is an evening event held on or around his birthday, January 25, that celebrates the life and work of the legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns.

The Burns Supper in Fethiye was held on January 26 and turned out to be a vibrant celebration of a Türkiye/Scotland cultural exchange.

This year, the Burns Supper was held at the Aymes Hotel and welcomed 120 guests from the UK, Russia, Ukraine, North Cyprus, America and Türkiye.

Guests included the Mayor of Fethiye Alim Karaca and his wife Çiğdem, the President of the Fethiye Rotary Club and his wife, British Honorary Consul, Mustafa Şıkman, and Tamer Gülbek and his wife. Tamer Gülbek teaches English at İzmir Economy University and has many publications to his name. These include “Ey Iskoçlar!” a book of many of Burns poems translated into Turkish.

Following the Welcome, given by Şine Rous of the Burns Fund Raising Group, the Selkirk Grace was recited, in Turkish, by Tamer Gülbek.

The Haggis, carried by Garreth Rous of the Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus, was piped in by a local piper, James Gray and speeches were performed by Turkish and non-Turkish representatives.

The Address to the Haggis, which was translated into English and Turkish, was performed by Ewen Rae, a Burns speaking Scot.

The Immortal Memory was delivered by Colin Rous of the Burns Fund Raising Group, the toast to the Lassies was presented by Hakan Sarbanoğlu and the response was given by Nergiz Dinçkan, both of the Fethiye Rotary Club.

Mustafa Şikman gave the toast to Atatürk and Absent Friends whilst also presenting a piece of music written by Paul Dwyer entitled “100.Yil Marşı” celebrating the Centenary of the Turkish Republic. 

A souvenir programme of the event carried translations into English and Turkish which enabled everyone to follow the event.

At the end of the formal part of the evening Scottish Ceilidh Dancing was led by members of the Fethiye Scottish Dance Club and everyone was encouraged to join in.

The Circassian Circle gave everyone the opportunity to meet with and dance with people that they had never met before and highlighted the multi-national flavour of the evening.

The Aymes Hotel excelled themselves in all areas and their catering was the best that we have seen in the five years that we have held this event. Haggis had been brought out, and donated, by many people who had arrived on Turkish soil from Britain and we also had donations from local businesses, Restaurants and Hotels in the Fethiye area.

This year’s recipient of our fund raising was, once again, Seydikemer Şehit Alper Seven Anadolu Imam Hatip Lisesi (Martyr Alper Seven Anatolian Imam Hatip High School). This relatively new school, set in the quiet rural location 40 kilometres from Fethiye, has three science rooms, but with little or no equipment for the students to learn from. The total profit from the evening amounted to over 46,000 Turkish Lira and all these proceeds are to add to the donation we made last year, in providing much needed equipment for their science facility. As a result of the extremely high inflation rate in Türkiye, the villages have been without so much and this cultural event helps to provide them with opportunities that they would otherwise not have.

The invaluable help and support of the Fethiye Rotarians and so many other people ensure that this event can take place, enhancing the relationship between Türkiye and the Celtic nations

Thank you to photographer, Norman Clark, who gave his services with no charge.

Once again, we could not have held this event without the support of so many people and organisations – too many to mention individually – but we do give our sincere thanks to all of you. The children are our future and we love the opportunity to support them.

Thank you to Colin Rous for the update.

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Lyn Ward

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