Basketball is a good reason to socialize!

Famous brand names that direct the economy of Turkey spend a portion of their annual revenue to create and “social responsibility” projects. The basketball festival that was organized in Izmir last week by Ülker brought children from different provinces together and gave them a chance to socialize with each other.

Big companies know that the summer vacation from school is a good tıme for accelerating social responsibility projects. One of those events was held in Izmir last week, when the 6th Annual Ülker Mini Basketball Festival, organized by the Turkish Basketball Federation and Ülker, took place from July 2 – 6. The festival participants included 50 boys’ teams and 18 girls’ teams, a total of 68 teams, from 35 provinces.     

During the festival, youngsters who came from the four corners of the country took part in a basketball tournament and talent show, as well as many other events. The activities were designed to encourage children from different regions to get to know each other and to give them a chance to establish new friendships.  Important players from the Turkish Basketball League such as Hüseyin Beşok, Murat Kaya and Tufan Ersöz were on hand to lend their support to the significant project. Ülker Sport Sponsorship Director Hakan Aydınol said this about the organization, “There are children here who have just watched their first movie and others who had never seen the sea before…  Children from the large cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir also attended the festivities but, while an event of this kind may be a natural activity for them, for children from Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Rize, Adana and many other places, it was a significant experience to come to Izmir for the first time.”

Can Özbakır is a 7th student at Ankara Bilkent Dups Elementary School.  He has become fast friends with Yusuf Adsız, is a 5th grade student at Aziz Gül Elementary School in Elazığ. Their friendship is not affected by controversial Turkish-Kurdish problems or the differences between their eastern and western cultural backgrounds. Despite their differences, the two boys found a chance to meet on the second day of the festival.  Yusuf noticed that Can was wearing eyeglasses.  Since Can has a moderately serious sight problem, he wears special glasses on the court when he plays basketball, just like the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Can was likewise captivated by the shorter Yusuf’s considerable skill at throwing 3-point baskets.  For the duration of the festival, the two were together at every opportunity and they have made plans to visit each other as soon as the first opportunity arises.

Like Yusuf and Can, the hundreds of friendships that were formed during the festival will not end when it is over.   As a matter of fact, to commemorate the togetherness and friendships that were established during the organization, all of the photographs taken during the event are being published on the web site, The site also provides information about the students who attended.

Children learn how to share and make friends

Ülker Corporate Communications Genel Director Zuhal Şeker: “This organization is not only meant to bring nearly a thousand children together to play sports each year;  Ülker also takes care to give them instruction on environmental awareness, take them to movies and organize other exciting events for them.  The kids that are given knowledge today will become the adults of tomorrow; in future they will be more sensitive individuals.   Of course the events also help to get kids from every corner of Turkey to develop friendships and learn to socialize with each other. Our purpose is to contribute as much as possible to the health of the next generation by encouraging kids to participate actively in sports.  Half of the 38 million dollars that we invest in sports each year is earmarked for basketball. Basketball was Ülker’s first project that involved sports… For years, we supported the young players of the Ülkerspor team. Later on, we expanded our sponsorship efforts to include more activities in the field of sport.

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