Turkish Bazaar Festival in Melbourne attracts people

The eleventh Turkish Bazaar Festival in Melbourne, Australia started on Saturday to share Turkey's rich culture down under.

Organized by the Moreland Turkish Association, the two-day festival is held at the Queen Victoria Market, one of the busiest spots in the coastal city.

The colorful festival gives visitors a sampling of Turkish culture through a dazzling array of Turkish handicrafts, music, and cuisine at numerous stalls.

Visitors can get a taste of Turkey's rich cuisine, including Turkish delight and gözleme -- a flatbread filled with cheese, potatoes, or other offerings -- while enjoying a cup of Turkish coffee or tea.

On its first day, the festival attracted countless people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, while musicians from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus performed Anatolian and Cypriot folk songs.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Cemal Akdeniz, head of the Moreland Turkish Association, said that the festival also serves to promote Turkish tourism.

"For 11 years we have been striving to promote our cultural values to the Australian community here and spotlight the Turkish community in the best possible light," he said.

Akdeniz said that Turkish tourist attractions need to be better promoted, as Australians take a great interest in Turkey.

The bazaar started in 1997 and is a featured event on the Melbourne festival calendar.

Peter Dutton -- then-immigration minister, now home affair minister -- said last year that Australia has a 150,000-strong Turkish community, "immersed in society in business and academia, people who are working hard to make a great contribution to modern society."

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