İster kâfir, ister mecûsî, ister puta tapan ol, gel!
Bizim dergâhımız ümitsizlik dergâhı değildir.
Yüz kere tövbeni bozmuş olsan da yine gel!"
İstanbul's historic Sultanahmet Square over the weekend became the scene for an open-air sema (whirling dervish) ritual as part of cultural events around Turkey and on numerous spots around the world marking UNESCO's Year of Mevlana. 2007 marks to 800th anniversary of the birth of Sufi saint and poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi.
The first of the open-air sema performances, held on Saturday, drew around 2,000 spectators, most of them foreign tourists, the organizers said in a written statement on Monday.
The show, organized by the Greater İstanbul Municipality's culture enterprise Kültür A.Ş., will continue to be staged at various squares of İstanbul throughout summer.
The upcoming performances, which will be held on Saturdays through Aug. 25, are scheduled to take place in the squares of such thoroughfares as Eyüp, Bakır-köy, Taksim, Kadıköy and Beşiktaş. Admission to all events is free of charge.