Dr. Serina Ha: Can you introduce one to two specific Turkish festival or culture to our audience?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Sure. Turkey, with its historical and cultural richness, is home to more than 1000 festivals annually. Some of them are local festivals in different towns and cities. Almost every neighborhood has a distinctive festival and festivity throughout the year.

There are a quite a number of festivals of unique character. For instance, every year in the western part of Turkey, in Kırkpınar, we celebrate famous Turkish Oil-wrestling through a sports event and festival. This year we celebrated the 659th edition of this same festival. In other words, since more than 600 years, the same festival is going on in the same place. People gather in the festival area to cheer and celebrate the wrestling event. It is a unique cultural event in Turkey. There are many historical and cultural figures who are also celebrated in the spirit of festivals. Take Nasreddin Hodja as an example, who was political satirist of his time. He was born more than 700 years ago. We still today in Turkey, keep telling the tales of Nasreddin Hodja to our kids. Every tale is a lesson and part of the Turkish culture. We commemorate and celebrate him through a unique festival every year.

There are hundreds of festivals in the fields of art, music, culture, theatre, movies, dancing, ballet. Istanbul Jazz Festival, Antalya International Golden Orange Film Festival and Gastronomy Festivals in Istanbul and many other cities are well known in the region and beyond.

Lately, in Adana, people are celebrating the orange blossom through a carnival-like festival with costumes and parades. This event has become very popular especially among young people. People are going to Adana in April to celebrate orange blossom with special costumes.

Istanbul Tulip Festival takes place in April every year in the parks and gardens of the city. Parks are decorated with tulip flowers in the form of huge carpets. Up to 600,000 tulips are used for just one carpet like exhibition. Shortly, Turkey is full of festivals. So when you travel into Turkey, you can also keep in mind the festival calendar.

土耳其駐港總領事:當然,土耳其有著悠久的歷史文化和豐富的歷史,節日更多於1000個,在不同的城市裡,每年都有獨特的節日,例如,在文化和體育方面,每年在土耳其的西面Kırkpınar,我們有著名的塗油摔跤運動節(Oil-wrestling Sport Festival),而今年已經是第659屆,在600多年來,節日都會在同樣的時間進行,人們在節日會聚集在市鎮中心,談論摔跤節日,這已成為土耳其文化的一部分。此外,我們會紀念許多歷史文化人物,例如諷刺時弊的作家納斯雷丁·霍賈(Nasreddin Hodja),雖然他已經離開我們700多年前,但如今我們會告訴孩子們他的故事,這是土耳其文化的一部分。另外,我們還會舉辦藝術、音樂和戲劇節,例如芭蕾舞節(Ballet Festival),伊斯坦堡爵士節(Istanbul Jazz Festival)和電影節(Film Festival),安塔利亞國際電影節(Antalya International Golden Orange Film Festival),伊斯坦堡和許多其他城市舉辦的美食節(Gastronomy Festivals)。鮮花節(Flower Festival)是最近在阿達納(Adana)舉辦的狂歡節,人們穿著特色服裝來慶祝橙花盛開,但其實這個節日不是傳統的土耳其節日,但它最近變得非常受歡迎,人們會在四月前往阿達納慶祝橙花盛開。另外,每年四月有著名的伊斯坦堡鬱金香節(Istanbul Tulips Festival),公園裡到處都遍佈鬱金香花,在一些展覽中,會展出佈滿超過600,000朵鬱金香的地毯,可見土耳其到處都會舉辦節日,所以當大家在土耳其旅行時,可以不妨看看節日舉辦的日期,每個城市在每個月都會舉辦不同的節日。

Dr. Serina Ha: Can you please introduce Turkish national flower to us?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: In the historical palace, Tulip has become a very popular flower especially starting from the late 17th century. We have a very distinctive historical period named after Tulip. This era represents the development of culture, art and also the beginning of the modernisation of the Ottoman. It is written in the books that a Flemish Ambassador to Ottoman Empire that time first brought the tulips from Turkey to Netherlands. Then, it has become a very popular flower of Dutch culture and economy. They became the main producers of Tulip.

For long, Tulip has been the symbol of Turkey’s tourism. But, for instance, in the Botanic International Fair in Antalya in 2016, Turkish peony was a symbol of Turkey, so there is a discussion about which flower represents Turkey most. You can pick your favourite.

土耳其駐港總領事:在歷史悠久的宮殿中,鬱金香已是受歡迎的花卉。歷史時期象徵著文化、藝術及18世紀奧斯曼帝國(Ottoman empire)的現代化。那時,佛蘭德(Flemish)大使從土耳其帶了鬱金香到荷蘭,然後,它便成為了荷蘭非常流行的花朵,也成為主要的生產者,但直到今天,鬱金香仍是土耳其的國花之一,而且長期以來,它一直是土耳其旅遊業的象徵,例如,在2016年安塔利亞國際植物學展覽會(Antalya Botanic International Fair),牡丹是土耳其的象徵,所以那朵花才能代表土耳其還有不少討論空間。

Dr. Serina Ha: It’s kind of like Turkish peony is not a kind of national flower, but a significant representative flower?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Exactly! Let me show you here a catalogue of endemic flowers of Anatolia. There are more than thousands of endemic flowers in Turkey.

讓我在這裡給您展示一份安納托利亞(Anatolia)特有花卉的目錄。 土耳其有數千種特有的花。

Dr. Serina Ha: So there is no official national flower in Turkey?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Let’s say tulip is the one and it is still regarded as one of the symbols of Turkish tourism and culture.


Dr. Serina Ha: And so, regarding about the flower, how about the language? Because for the promotion video we can learn little bit from you only, so can you please demonstrate again? How to say “hello” and “how are you”?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Sure, a formal way to say “hello” and “how are you” are “merhaba” and “nasılsın”.

土耳其駐港總領事:當然可以,「你好」是 “merhaba”,「你好嗎」是“nasılsın”。

Dr. Serina Ha: Are there any slangs you want to teach us?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: “Güle güle” is colloquial and “Görüşürüz” is also used informally meaning “goodbye”.


Dr. Serina Ha: Do Turkish youngsters like to shorten words for close friends?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: They say “n’aber”, it means “hi” or “what’s up”. “N’aber dostum” means “hi, my friend”.

土耳其駐港總領事:他們會說“ n'aber”,意思是「你好」。 “N'aber dostum”的意思是「你好,我的朋友」。

Dr. Serina Ha: Will teenagers say something that sometimes you try to understand slowly?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: We can understand but don’t approve all the slang they use. Turkish people speak at normal pace, not very fast and I think it is an understandable language. You can easily learn some words!


Dr. Serina Ha: Can Consul General please introduce Turkish celebration in the coming years?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: You are always more than welcome to visit Turkey. There are currently direct flights between Hong Kong and Istanbul six days a week. Fly to Istanbul and also discover the new airport which will be hosting more than hundred million passengers every year. It is one of the biggest airports in the world, which was opened last year. From the airport go directly into the city center, explore the history, culture, art, hundreds of museums, palaces, mosques, bazaars and gastronomy in Istanbul. Don’t just stay in Istanbul. Explore other cities in Turkey, western, southern, eastern, and also northern parts of Turkey. In every part of Turkey, you will discover something different, something local. I am sure Hong Kong people will appreciate Turkish culture, art and history deeply.

土耳其駐港總領事:你們隨時都可以到土耳其旅遊,從香港到伊斯坦堡一週有六天都有直航航班,飛往伊斯坦堡後,可以探索新機場,該機場每年大概接待一億多名乘客,這是去年開放的最大機場之一。從那裡進入城市後,更可以探索伊斯坦堡的歷史、文化、藝術和美食。再者,不要只認識伊斯坦堡,還可以嘗試探索土耳其南部、東部,甚至北部的阿德里安(Adrian)和中央公園(Central Park)。在土耳其的每個地方,各位都可以發現不一樣及具土耳其特色的東西。我相信香港人會欣賞土耳其的文化、藝術和歷史。

Dr. Serina Ha: Are there language barrier in Turkey like we cannot speak Turkish, can we go to Turkey?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Nowadays, luckily this problem has already been solved by the translate applications all around the world. There may always be some language barrier, especially when you are out of touristic spots, but Turkish people are very friendly and they will always try to understand you even they don’t speak your language. They will do their best by gestures. We are famous by communicating by our gestures, so they will try to understand you and explain you all even though when they don’t speak your language.


Dr. Serina Ha: How’s the Asian culture in Turkey?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: Turkey is part of Asia. It is between and part of both Asia and Europe, and you can also call it as a Middle Eastern country which is also a Black Sea, Caucasus country. Turkey is in at the crossroads of all these regions. Therefore, Asian culture is part of Turkey. We are recently rediscovering and focusing on Asia. Our Ministry has recently announced a diplomatic initiative called “Asia Anew”. This new policy includes all fields, including but not limited to economy, trade, investment, culture and also political relations. We look forward to deepening and strengthening our relationship with Asian countries and culture.


Dr. Serina Ha: Finally, we want to know more about consul general. At the first time you come to Hong Kong, have you been here before?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: My first day was my first day in Hong Kong.


Dr. Serina Ha: How to explore Hong Kong in three months?


Turkish Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu: I am trying to explore Hong Kong in all aspects. I try to spend off days seeing natural beauties in Hong Kong. I go to remote islands to discover different parts of the city Kong with my son. We like to move around a lot. And I found many similarities between Istanbul and Hong Kong, both very vibrant, dynamic and enjoyable cities. As you can commute from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon side with Starferries, we do have our unique boats (vapur) to travel between continents within the same city. Both cities are beautiful blends of East and West, in their peculiar ways.

土耳其駐港總領事:我正在全方位探索香港,並嘗試花一點時間欣賞香港的自然美景。我常常帶著兒子去偏遠的島嶼,重新發現香港的不同地區,以及喜歡在周末四處遊走,可以了解到香港真是我們的榮幸。我發現伊斯坦布爾和香港之間有許多相似之處,這兩個城市都是充滿活力和令人愉悅的城市。 由於您可以乘坐渡輪從香港島往返九龍,我們確實擁有獨特的遊船(vapur),可以在同一城市的各大島嶼之間旅行。 土耳其及香港也是以獨特的方式融合東西方的美麗。

夏妙然博士,駐香港土耳其總領事Mr. Peyami Kalyoncu