2014 readers choice results
Article updated: 3/23/2013 5:26 PM

Turkish cultural center celebrates opening in Mount Prospect

Derya Bora, 5, of Buffalo Grove gets ready to preform in the Turkish Kafkas Folk Dance as part of the grand opening event held Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

Derya Bora, 5, of Buffalo Grove gets ready to preform in the Turkish Kafkas Folk Dance as part of the grand opening event held Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Hakan Berberoglu, vice president of the Niagara Foundation, right, listens to Fahrettin Poyraz, chairperson of the Turkish Parliament, at the grand opening event held Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

Hakan Berberoglu, vice president of the Niagara Foundation, right, listens to Fahrettin Poyraz, chairperson of the Turkish Parliament, at the grand opening event held Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Turkish girls dole out scissors just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

Turkish girls dole out scissors just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Fahrettin Poyraz, chairperson of the Turkish Parliament, center, takes part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Centerís grand opening.

Fahrettin Poyraz, chairperson of the Turkish Parliament, center, takes part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center's grand opening.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 1 of 4 
 
text size: AAA

An untimely power outage couldn't dim the mood of hundreds of people who gathered Saturday to celebrate the new Turkish American Society of Chicago Cultural Center in Mount Prospect.

"There's some irony here because out of today's darkness, this center will be a real beacon, a light on the greatness of your community," U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat, said, illuminated by the light of a video camera.

Advertisement

Despite the darkness -- a ComEd spokeswoman said 46 customers were affected by a broken utility pole -- visitors still managed to tour the sprawling 80,000-square-foot center at 501 Midway Drive. It features dining facilities, guest rooms and suites, conference rooms, a sports complex, offices and catering services.

They took in traditional folk music and dance performances, and watched as women created paper marbling artwork known as "ebru" and designed hand-painted plates.

The day was years in the making, with the village originally approving the cultural center and adjoining school back in 2003. Executive Director Muhittin Er said a combination of factors contributed to delays, including financing problems, the economic downturn and the relocation of some board members.

Er said the pieces eventually fell into place, however, and that the project timetable was able to be expedited so that construction took less than seven months.

There are about 20,000 people of Turkish descent in the Chicago area, but Er emphasized the facility is open to everyone. The nonprofit organization offers a variety of lectures, classes and a weekend school.

"It's a wonderful place to celebrate our language, our religion and our culture," said Algonquin resident Ali Namik, who's been coming to the facility every week since the school opened last September and the cultural center in December. "It's important for my children (ages 9, 12 and 15) to learn."

Several American and Turkish leaders briefly spoke including Fahrettin Poyraz, chairperson of the Turkish Parliament. Through a translator, he spoke of the importance of having these types of gathering places.

"The more we have these facilities, the more we have dialogue to overcome problems," Poyraz said.

His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the bishop of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, also emphasized that the center can help bridge differences despite past feuds.

"This building represents so much to so many, but I think it represents an even more significant spot in the history of our people," he said. "Greeks and Turks living together in harmony and mutual respect is a dream come true that my grandparents probably never saw."

Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.

This article filed under

Latest Video

MostViewed

Today
Yesterday
Most Commented
Top Jobs

    View all Top Jobs Place a job ad

    MarketsReport

    DHExtras

       
    • Newspaper next section - Newspaper next section Report card checker - report card checker
    • Dh innovation award 2 - Dh innovation award 2 Zillow /real estate page
    • Discuss refer On Guard series
    • Newspaper archives -- Monday or anyday Mike North

    FacebookActivity

    BusinessDirectory

    Connect with a business or service in your area fast. First select a town, then enter a search term or choose one of the listed popular searches:

    Don't see your town listed? Visit our full directory to begin your search.