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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Tarkan Days in Russia

By Ira Iosebashvili, reporting from Moscow, Russia, courtesy of The Moscow Times

Tarkan arrives in MoscowWith Turkey's sandy beaches and ancient ruins drawing legions of Russian tourists, it might come as a surprise that, other than a few hookah-equipped restaurants and the pop sensation Tarkan, Turkish culture has made few inroads of its own in Moscow.

All of which might change Friday, when the Days of Turkish Culture in Russia festival kicks off. Organized by the Russian Culture and Press Ministry and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, the festival seeks to bring all things Turkish - from whirling dervishes and shadow theater to Tarkan himself - to Moscow for a two-week run.

After an opening ceremony and fashion show at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski on Friday, the festival fans out to stages, concert halls and galleries throughout the city.

From anicent ritual spinning dances and intricate carpet weaving, to the more modern range of works by contemporary Turkish artists, including Turkish photographer Nuri Bilge Ceylan - whose film, "Distant", won the Grand Prize award at the Cannes film festival in 2003 - there is something for everyone.

The main attraction is Tarkan. The pop star closes out the festival with a concert at the Luzhniki Sports Palace on June 2, with another concert due to high demand on the June 3.

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