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On the 700th Anniversary of his Passing, Yunus Emre is remembered in Edinburgh

Yunus Emre, had an immense influence on Turkish literature and philosophical thought, from his own day until the present. 2021 has been named Yunus Emre Year by UNESCO and the year of Yunus Emre and Turkish Language year by the President of the Republic of Turkey. The commemoration kicked off on Wednesday 20 October 2021 with the Sounds From Yunus Emre concert by the Sufi Ensemble led Oudist Baha Yetkin and the talented musicians Alexandros Koustas on the kemençe, Alp Genç on the ney and Muammer Sağlam playing the percussions.

The unforgettable evening at the prestigious Assembly Roxy, introduced the audience to Yunus Emre through Sufi hymns touching heart and soul of listeners. Yunus Emre’s poetry, with its simple rhythmic verse and spiritual depth, is an important well for lyrics for Sufi music. Through these compositions, Yunus Emre's poems and philosophy survived to the present day by living among the people and spilling through the streets of Edinburgh with the help of the ensemble. The event was attended by the Turkish Consul General in Edinburgh and the Turkish Consulate General Education Attaché Office in Edinburgh.

The second event of the commemoration featured an Ebru (paper marbling) workshop with artist Esma Uğurluoğlu at the University of Edinburgh on Friday, October 22. This storied art has been used to decorate the inside covers of books for centuries but has developed into an independent artform. Uğurluoğlu led the eager attendees through how to sprinkle and brush natural colour pigments onto a pan of oily water to create spectacular patterns and transfer the patterns to paper. While Ebru artists consider their art to be a central part of their traditional culture and identity and lifestyle, participants were be able to get a taste of this enchanting art and take their unique masterpieces home!

The commemoration was capped with the screening of the moving film, Yunus Emre: The Voice of Love, telling the story of the great philosophical thinker, poet and Sufi, Yunus Emre. Taking place on Saturday, October 23, 2021, the screening was be followed by an online question-and-answer interview with Kürşat Kızbaz, the screenwriter and director of the film. Kızbaz, who previously directed a film on Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, talked the audience through his inspirations for the film, its challenges and the messages he wanted to get across.  

Under the banner of friendship, humanism, and divine love, the 3-evening commemoration brought the wise words and rich culture of Yunus Emre to the streets of Edinburgh. The events came to a close with his loving words ringing in everyone’s ears:

Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.


Yunus Emre Enstitüsü - London 

Yunus Emre Institute (Turkish: Yunus Emre Enstitüsü) is the Republic of Turkey’s cultural institute. Established in 2007, the organisation has over 60 branches worldwide. Through cultural diplomacy, the Institute aims to increase awareness of Turkish culture, support the learning of the Turkish language and to stimulate greater exchange in the fields of arts, culture, science, education. Since opening its doors in London in 2010, Yunus Emre Institute has become an improving the bonds of friendship between Turkey and the United Kingdom. 


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