Turkish Festival Seeks to Bridge Cultural Gaps

About 5,000 people attended the fourth annual Turkish Festival at the Raindrop Turkish House in Broken Arrow. Organizers hoped face-to-face interaction would help familiarize Green Country with Turkish culture.

Volunteer Bilal Erturk said Oklahoma is not a very well known state to people outside the country, and that has disadvantages for Sooner State residents.

"That may, you know, have some shortcomings for the people living here, because then people living in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, don't have much of an exposure to the outside world," he said.

The festival incorporated folk dances, traditional music, food, and art. For example, an artist demonstrated Ebru, the ancient art of water marbling.

"It's really fun to find out all the traditions and what kind of food they make. Really cool," said Amy Kulikov, 14.

With the recent Boston bombing, some initially speculated that the two suspects were Turkish. While that has since been proven untrue, organizers said the fear surrounding the suspects' culture is why events like this are so important.

"When we don't know somebody or when there's a lot of uncertainty, we are generally afraid of it," said Erturk. He believes personal interaction with people of different cultures assuages that uncertainty.