In Turkey, the world’s largest host country of refugees for the fifth consecutive year in 2019; UNHCR Turkey office marked World Refugee Day with a concert in İstanbul where Turkish and Syrian music bands performed in Turkish, English and Arabic with a diverse repertoire for a broad range of audience. Over 500 participants participated in the event including representatives from the international community, implementing partners, UN Agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations, refugee and local communities.
Following the one-hour reception, UNHCR Turkey Deputy Representative Jean Marie Garelli delivered opening remarks saying that “Music is a universal language. Music brings us together. Music is a symbol of solidarity. But at the same time music represents diversity. And that diversity is an enormous richness and exactly what we need in today’s world.”
“The continuing hospitality in Turkey toward refugees is difficult to measure in numbers but it deserves our respect, solidarity and support,” he added.
The bands Andalusia Trio, Kolektif İstanbul and Mood Band performed during the first part of the event by showing great solidarity. The event closed with a strong performance by Baba Zula honouring the strength and courage of all who had to flee conflict and persecution.
The event at Salon IKSV (Istanbul Art and Culture Foundation) sought to foster social cohesion, with unifying power of music; served as a renewed call for solidarity both with refugees and the countries and communities hosting them and proved once again that universal language of music transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries as the audience, composed of people of different ages, regardless of the language, sang and danced together.