Between 2-12 July 2009, HASDER carried out a Folk Dancing Camp, Living Together, in Greece.

Between 2-12 July 2009, HASDER carried out a Folk Dancing Camp, Living Together, in Greece. For nine days 70 Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot youngsters found the opportunity to get to know and understand each other at the camp, which is part of the projects sponsored by European Union Funds.

Organized by HASDER and Greek Dance Archives, and financed by European Union Funds, the camp project was realised in Loutraki – Pella, a town famous for its thermal baths and cherry orchards in the Salonika area. 40 dancers from HASDER, 8 dancers from the Greek KEXOT of Tripolis Society, and 23 dancers from "APOLLO" Culture Society attended the nine-day camp. The folk dancing show was further enlivened with the participation of the local society, Promachoi Society. The organisers were very impressed with the Turkish Cypriot folk dancing and the dancers’ performance, and they invited our dancers to various festivals in Greece for next year.

Greek youngsters and the local people, who found the opportunity to meet Turkish Cypriots for the first time, said that, thanks to the project, they had freed themselves from prejudices about Turkish Cypriots and that they found the opportunity to learn more about the Turkish Cypriot culture. In addition to folk dancing and music, the Greeks were introduced to Sheftali kebab, Cyprus meatball, grilled halloumi, and they really liked the Turkish Cypriot cuisine. The Turkish Cypriot youngsters who attended the camp got to learn about Greek folk dancing, folk music, the Greek cuisine and the cultural activities in Greece.

European Parliament MP Ioannis Gklavakis, Mayor of Aridea Petros Zervis, Deputy Chairman Foni Botsfari visited the camp several times and expressed their good-will and support, and came together with the directors of HASDER. In a speech he made to the youngsters, Glavakis said that he hoped the event would make a positive contribution to the relations between the two countries. In his speech, HASDER President Ali Nebih said that the two communities (Turkish Cypriots and Greeks), which are very close in terms of geography and historical relations, were distant and did not know each other well. He also added that their main aim was to improve relations through this event, which is the first, and similar projects, and through means of contribute to humanity and regional peace. “We must not forget that every great journey starts with small steps”, said Ali Nebih and added that he hoped these small steps taken in the name of peace, humanity and love would create a bridge of peace between our countries.

As part of the event the youngsters from HASDER visited the house where Atatürk was born in Salonica. The Turkish consulate officials in Salonica said that they were happy to host such a large group of youngsters from Northern Cyprus at Atatürk’s house for the first time. The youngsters walked round the rooms, touched Atatürk’s personal objects and clothes, and left the Pink House with a feeling of nostalgia and respect, which they will never forget.

After nine days of workshops, sports activities and folk dancing, the tired youngsters relaxed in the warmth of the thermal baths and returned to the island with fond memories and new friendships. 


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