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Ethno-Sports in View of Popular Culture and Advancing Technology

Ethno-sports which are traditional sports of nations, cultures and civilizations have not currently caught people’s attention enough. Ethno-sports are traditional games played by nations during war and different times for thousands of years. Because of their geratic origin; these sports are played with equipments like stone, wood, horse, aba fabric, belt, arrow and bow.

All nations, cultures, countries have traditional sports. American, Latin American, African tribal ethno-sport branches are available. Ethno-sports involve both abstract and physical games. For example; sumo wrestling is an ethno-sport which was introduced to the world by Japan. Turkish culture contains ethno-sports such as archery, javelin, mangala, buzkashi, aba wrestling, belt wrestling and shalwar wrestling.

In modern times; digital games took ethno-sports’ place in accordance with new trends developed by popular culture. People tend to atari, computer games and game consoles. However people, within the process, became satisfied with digital games and now have increased an interest on old games. People want to focus on physical games any more. They want to hold arrow and bow, ride a horse, and spend time in nature. All traditional games are in touch with nature.

Human beings want to live in nature. Before a settled life; human being was an existence who lived in nature as nomadic societies. So our ancestors lived in nature. But people became isolated when they settled. In modern time, isolation has intensified more and more with technological advancements. 

On the other hand; people also want to socialize. Because humans are social beings created by Allah as a pure nature; they need to speak, share, touch and feel. For this reason; the trend to ethno-sports has been increasing day by day.

Some foundations, associations, non-governmental organizations and civil initiatives protecting and trying to popularize the traditional games and ethno-sports are available. At this point; it is a must to establish a global institute for ethno-sports including people from all around the world and making researches about all ethno-sports in the world. Turkey and Asian countries have started to protect them. 

However there is no clear research on African tribal games whatsoever. Similarly, there is no substantial works related with Latin American local games. If we want to protect values all around the world, to embrace all humanity in the world; we need to establish the World Ethno-Sports Institute. Of course we should establish this institute in cooperation with international legal organizations.

The ancestral knowledge and culture is a treasure which must be passed on the next generations. So we need to build an organization which will transfer the games played throughout history to the next generations. We must pass on this historical and cultural value to the next generations by means of high level studies in full-fledged organizations.

World Ethno-Sports Confederation is available in Turkey performing under the leadership of Mr. Bilal Erdogan. Thanks to the Confederation; studies related with ethno-sports had a new dimension and quality.

To produce comprehensive works related with ethno-sports under a Confederation, to prepare an ethno-sport encyclopedia and to create an extensive resources are on agenda.

Briefly, it is a must to perform studies for traditional games from different countries and different continents which ensure all people unite together.

In August, Istanbul will host a great festival: the World Ethno-sport Festival. Preparations are going on now. Athletes will come to Istanbul from various cities of Turkey and different countries of the world. Turkish society also will be there. We have cited about the festival and its preparations to different organizations of the United Nations, our international partners, municipalities and youth councils under local governments.

Undoubtedly, one of the organizations which will principally adopt the ethno-sports is municipalities. Municipalities are local organizations which are more powerful than central authorities because they are directly in touch with people. That’s why municipalities attach great importance. The United Nations and many international organizations have started to cooperate with local governments because local governments are the first supporter against social crises and sociological phenomena when we take a glance at – especially recent- major disasters.  

Turkey became a brand in the field of local governments with a policy led by the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul in 1994. The local government policies led by the President are seen as a role model all around the world. There is no other sense of local government which can product and get result faster in the world. This is a significant title of Turkey.

Turkey as a central government invests traditional sports anymore because they are Turkey’s personality. Archery, wrestling and riding are our ancestor’s sport. For the reason that culture is the most important factor differentiating communities, Turkey protects its ancestor’s sports by the way of governmental structures. The more we protect our culture and preserve it from new advancing technology; the more our culture will be valuable.

In modern times, cultures throughout the world have begun to be forgotten and civilizations have started to degenerate. Foreign elements have penetrated the authenticity and a structure called as “hybrid” has come up. Since the beginning of 2000; Turkey has started to develop in the leadership of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We protect our culture, our civilization and our ancestor’s sports.

Of course other countries apart from Turkey also carry out works on this topic. The world has a retroactive new trend. British people are one of the most culture-bound societies in the world. If one pays an official visit to Queen, he will be welcomed by mounted troops in traditional uniforms. And this leads to a historical and cultural atmosphere. We also have a deep-rooted culture. Our government protects Turkish culture and traditions inherited by our ancestors. In the meantime non-governmental organizations produce remarkable works in this direction. After all, the World Ethno-sport Festival which will be held in Istanbul in August is highly important. We, as Istanbul Youth Assembly, perform activities to raise the awareness of this topic among young people.

In addition, we inform our strategic partners in the United Nations about this process.

Hope to come together in the World Ethno-sports Festival...

Samed Agirbas- Chairman of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly