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A sampling of the food from Turkish Night. Selections included baklava, pide bread and döner meat. 

Walter Rotunda packed for Turkish Night

Walter Hall Rotunda was filled to capacity with 150 guests: a mixture of students, faculty and even children — all celebrating Turkish culture.

The Turkish Student Association hosted its first Turkish Night ever at Ohio University to highlight the many components of its homeland on Tuesday evening.

“We made a cold evening very warm,” said Savas Kaya, advisor of Turkish Student Association. 

Turkish Student Association is an organization comprised of students with about 50 members, 30 of those from Turkey. The organization began this year.

“I came here in September, and when I did, there was no Turkish organization,” said Mustafa Aydogan, president of Turkish Student Association. “So we just decided to make it happen. We came together and started planning anything that could help people know the Turkish culture.”

Aydogan said it was surprising that the demand of tickets was more than 300, but that seemed too much to take on for the first time. Aydogan said a decision was made to cap attendance at 150.

All of the attendees enjoyed Turkish food, traditional dances prepared by students and listened to the invited guests who spoke about their personal experiences and cultures of Turkey. 

The end of the evening went as planned as masses of people stormed the floor to join in the group dancing. 

Samorra Dower, a graduate student in clinical health and rehabilitation, is a non-Turkish student who performed a Turkish dance. 

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“I agreed to do a Turkish traditional dance, because I love immersing myself into other cultures,” Dower said. “I believe Ohio University does an amazing job in allowing students to put on events like this.”

Aydogan said the Turkish Student Association chose a catering company from Columbus that served homemade Turkish food, and a Turkish band that also traveled from Columbus. 

“One of the things that we are proud of are having all of the foods like Mediterranean foods, European and Middle East foods, it’s in the middle of everything,” Aydogan said. “We have Eastern cultures, Western cultures and we have Russia. That mix is one thing that we need to bring here with our culture.”

Events planned by the international organizations on campus run into more obstacles than American parties. 

“We tried to get Turkish coffee, but it was very difficult to find in the United States,” Aydogan said. “Also, to find it in that massive quantity was hard.”

Kaya said it’s student organizations like Turkish Student Association that are “the untold heroes” of OU, and it’s the time they put in that highlights the cultures. 

“This was more than I could have imagined,” said Aydogan. “It’s not the night for Turkish people to prove themselves, brag how good we are, or something. It’s for fun.”

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