• Whirling Dervish

    Whirling Dervish

  • still whirling......

    still whirling......

  • and more whiling......

    and more whiling......

  • and even more whirling.......

    and even more whirling.......

  • Whirling Dervish at Llewellyn Hall

    Whirling Dervish at Llewellyn Hall

  • Captain Raul Zamorano and Marcella Manterola, Victor Trevino and Rick Forster

    Captain Raul Zamorano and Marcella Manterola, Victor Trevino and Rick Forster

  • Ilkeren Tahtali, Mujde Tahtali Cayir and Mustafa Tahtali

    Ilkeren Tahtali, Mujde Tahtali Cayir and Mustafa Tahtali

  • Ayse Cetinkaya, Hikmet Cetinkaya, Filiz TuLek and Vecdi Uzon

    Ayse Cetinkaya, Hikmet Cetinkaya, Filiz TuLek and Vecdi Uzon

  • Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

    Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

  • Artist Hikmet Cetinkaya

    Artist Hikmet Cetinkaya

  • High Commissioner of Uganda Enoch Nkuruho and Ambassador of Ethiopia Araga Hailu Teffera

    High Commissioner of Uganda Enoch Nkuruho and Ambassador of Ethiopia Araga Hailu Teffera

  • Chief of Protocol Chris Cannan and Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

    Chief of Protocol Chris Cannan and Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

  • Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

    Ambassador of Turkey Vakur Gokdenizler

  • Asena Gunes and Staff Colonel Yildirim Gunes and Gulseren Gelik

    Asena Gunes and Staff Colonel Yildirim Gunes and Gulseren Gelik

  • Nahiid  Afroz and Rosie Staude

    Nahiid Afroz and Rosie Staude

  • Pedro Villagra Delgardo, High Commissioner of Fiji Yogesh Punja and Carolyn Forster

    Pedro Villagra Delgardo, High Commissioner of Fiji Yogesh Punja and Carolyn Forster

  • Harold and Nancy Ganter

    Harold and Nancy Ganter

  • Pia Waldron and Gigdem La Sallae

    Pia Waldron and Gigdem La Sallae

  • Brigadier Peter Daniel, Air Commodore Hayden Marshall and Colonel Doug Sachs

    Brigadier Peter Daniel, Air Commodore Hayden Marshall and Colonel Doug Sachs

  • Ramazan and Aygul Aydemir with Miray Kircali

    Ramazan and Aygul Aydemir with Miray Kircali

  • Wing Commander Jon Hough, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Miller and Wing Commander Jim Coutts

    Wing Commander Jon Hough, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Miller and Wing Commander Jim Coutts

  • Goshgar Zeynalov, Aran Erdebilli and Laman Khasiyeva and Araz Khasiyev

    Goshgar Zeynalov, Aran Erdebilli and Laman Khasiyeva and Araz Khasiyev

We were led to believe that the Arab swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark swirling his scimitar to intimidate Indy who solved the problem by shooting him was a ‘whirling dervish’; well maybe not. A visit by the Sufi Music Ensemble and Whirling Dervishes to Canberra was an enthralling experience of this ancient order of semazen of Konya, Tukey with an 800 years old mystic tradition that is mesmerizing and hypnotic and not in the least bit violent or frenetic. The swordsman wore black and red, the dervish wear white to whirl. Jointly sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Embassy in Canberrra the visit was part of Turkey’s contribution to the commemoration of the Gallipoli Anzac Centenary.

Taking to the stage at Llewellyn Hall, the performance began with the vocal and instrumental Sufi devotional music central to the SEMA ceremony of the whirling dervishes, who followed with their fascinating rituals and whirling.

Wearing the camel’s hair hat that is the tombstone of the ego, the wide white circular skirt that is the ego’s shroud, the pattern of this ritual emerged with open arms held above shoulder height and the right open palm to the sky and left to the earth in the anti clockwise whirling around their heart. ‘The semazen embraces all humanity with love’, they say and as it continued we marveled at their balance as semazen of all ages whirled and whirled. I was giddy they were well and truly in another place.

Continuing the commemorating of the Gallipoli Anzac Centenary there was for the 92nd Anniversary of the Turkish Republic a new Ambassador of Turkey, Vakur Gokdenizler, and a painting exhibition by Hikmet Cetinkaya opened for the occasion and featured on the walls of Lalezar Hall. It is called Don’t Forget the Poppies and was commissioned for this significant year and as the flower of remembrance seeing them mixed with perspectives and imaginings on the Gallipoli Peninsula is impressive.

There was a warm welcome by the new ambassador who has a sense of humour and photo-bombing talent, both endearing talents for a diplomat as his staff plied us with savoury and sweet treats, the refreshments flowed and the guest lingered, which made for a fantastic National Day.

And the truth at last about Indy and the swordsman.