Turkish Day Parade in New York City, May 28, 2011

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Turkish Parade - Nation of Turks

30th Annual Parade along Madison Avenue on a beautiful  Saturday, near the Food Festival that took place along the Lexington Avenue.

Turks around the World celebrate 19 May Youth and Sports Day, the anniversary of the day Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, landing in Samsun 92 years ago, throughout Turkey, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and around the world. The Turks in America, Turkish-Americans and Friends of Turks celebrated this important day, which Ataturk also considered as his birthday 130 years ago in 1881, with the Turkish Day Parade in New York City on May 28, Saturday, as they have done since 1981, which started as a Protest March.

The Parade started at 53rd Street, Madison Avenue at 1:00 AM and ended at 47 Street near the First Avenue. Everyone gathered at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza where speeches were delivered and people enjoyed the Turkish food served at many stands.
The Parade was headed by an NYPD Police car followed by 2 Policemen on horses and 2 waste collectors behind them. Around 20 beautiful ladies, some in shorts and wawing Turkish and American flags, marched, followed by the Turkish Protocol, walking almost in a single line. The Turkish Ambassador to the US, HE Namik Tan, Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the UN, HE Ertugrul Apakan, Turkish Consul General in New York Mehmet Temsar, several representatives from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, President of the Federation of Turkish-American Associations Kaya Boztepe, some former Presidents of the FTAA and others were among the Protocol. However,  there was no one from the New York Municipalities or the US Congress, which is customary at all other Parades that take place year around in New York, most along the %th Avenue (1).

There must have been over 7 Bands, including NYPD band, students from several local schools, 5 Turkish Soccer Team representatives (Besiktas, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor, Eskisehir), Hurriyet Newspaper, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, several member organizations of FTAA and ATAA, which was represented by two students only. The organizations and groups that took part in the Parade included the following:

1.      TADF float
2.      Turk ve Amerikan Bayragi tasiyan 20 kisilik bir gurup
3.      Ataturk okulu ogrencileri (yuruyusun en gucel manzasari)
4.      Passaic County marching Band
5.      Amerika Turk Kadinlar Birligi
6.      Rochester Turk Dernegi
7.      Brookly Amity School
8.      ATAA, representad by Secil and a young student
9.      Turkistan dernegi
10.  Eskisehir Spro Kulubu
11.  Crimean Turks Association
12.  Marching Band from Stayreville, LI, NY
13.  Yourn Turks of USA
14.  Yiung Turks Cultural Association (Founded 1992) WITH PANKARDS, “ATAM Izindeyiz” and another Pancard, “We caused this Tragedy – Turks never committed genocide,” statement by Houhannes Katcoznouni, the First PM of Armenian republic founded in 1922.
15.  Young Turks gurup uyeleri cok buyuk bir Ataturk resmi ve arkasinda Turk Bayragi ile yuruduler
16.  Motosikletli NY Polis ekibi ve onlara katila motosikletli Turkler
17.  Zig zag yaparak gecen Turk bayrakli ve suruculu 5 otomobil
18.  Intercollegiate Turkish Student Society
19.  Newark Symphony Band – John Duke band\Turkish-American Society of Connecticut
20.  Dokuz Eylul Universitesi, Izmir
21.  Hurriyet Float with a live singer
22.  Turkis-American Cultural Alliance
23.  TURANT – Turkish American Association of Texas
24.  Giresunlular Dernegi (en kalabalik gurup)
25.  Troop 23 Band, Maybrook, NY
26.  American-Turkish Eyup Sultan Mosque and Cultural center
27.  American-Bulgarian Turks Cultural Assoc.
28.  Mevlana Turk Okulu, Port Jefferson
29.  Foundation for Children with Lukemia
30.  Azerbaijan Society of America
31.  Marching Band, Yonkers Millif
32.  United American Muslim Assoc. New York – Fatih Camii – with a man riding a horse
33.  All City High School Band, NY
34.  Turkish republic of Noryh Cyprus
35.  Cathedral High School Marching Band
36.  Arkas Sport Club
37.  Unity College, NY – Marching bag-pipe band
38.  Karacay Turks Mosque and Cultural center
39.  Mother Cabrini High School, NY
40.  Azerbaijan NY Association
41.  American-Turkis-Islam Ulku Ocaklari
42.  Ulkucu Dernekler Federasyonu
43.  Band of young boys and girls – 18 , ages 6 – 17
44.  Besiktas
45.  NY Giresunlular Dernegi
46.  Bergen Kultur Diyanet Merkezi Camii
47.  An adventurer walking at the end all by himself.

As I watched the parade near 48th Street, several people asked me what the Parade was all about. I told them that it was to celebrate the Turkish Sport and Youth day dedicated to the people of Turkey of all ages which also marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Liberation following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War (1914-1918). There was a couple who told me that they were in NY to celebrate Nicholas Deteonardis’s (the husband) 80th Birthday. He said that they have been to Turkey twice and enjoyed every minute of it. A French couple also asked about the parade and several others. I think it would have been very useful to distribute a Flyer on the event since some people did not even know what country the flag represented. I grabbed a T-Shirt that was being distributed by a group and gave it to Mr Deteonardis as his Birthday Present.

There is a lot can be written about the Parade, such as why many member associations, including the elitist Anadolu Club, the Association of Turkish-American Engineers, Architects and Scientists (MIM), did not participate and why the ATAA was not their full force. Due to the limited time, the writer could not stay to hear the speeches. I hope others will write about this.

Notes. (1). For those interested in parades may either go to 5th Avenue or Tune in to Channel 9 Sunday to watch the Israel Parade mark the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. The New York Post included a 22 Page Guide to the parade in its June 3rd issue yesterday. The Guide includes a complete list of those who will take part in the Parade and a 2-page ad by the American Jewish Committee with the photographs of 12 US Presidents with the Declaration: the United States and Israel: An Enduring Partnership.”

Yuksel Oktay, PE
4 June 2011
Washington, NJ