Greece to press claim on 'Turkish' puppet theatre: official



ATHENS- Greece will press its claim on a shadow puppet theatre deemed to be part of Turkey's cultural heritage by UN cultural watchdog UNESCO, the foreign ministry in Athens said on Wednesday.
"The UNESCO convention on intangible cultural heritage enables neighbouring countries to also access the same commodity," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras told a news briefing.



Greece to press claim on 'Turkish' puppet theatre: official
"Greece has tabled a statement that the same practice exists in our country and a discussion...regarding this issue will take place in Nairobi in October."
He added that the Karagiozis shadow theatre, named after the main character, is an "inseparable" part of Greek culture.
Karagiozis -- Greek for the Turkish Karagöz, meaning "black-eyed" -- is a hunchbacked trickster who tries to make a living by hoodwinking Turkish officials and generally avoids all manner of honest work.
The setting is loosely placed during the occupation of Greece by the Ottoman Empire from the mid-15th century to the early 19th century.
Infused with a cast of society cliches from the era -- including a Turkish enforcer, a Zante dandy, a Jew and a rough-hewn Greek shepherd -- it was a popular form of folk entertainment in Greece until a few decades ago.
UNESCO last year placed Karagöz on its list of intangible cultural elements, associating it with Turkey where the character was originally born.
But in Greece the character remains a powerful icon of resistance to authority even though Karagiozis performances are now only practiced by a few enthusiasts.
Karagiozis is also a common byword for 'fool' in Greek.
The origins of Turkish Karagöz theatre and its hide-crafted puppets are lost to history though it is assumed that it was introduced to Turkey from Egypt.
Shadow theatre is believed to have first surfaced in India over 2,000 years ago.
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Wednesday, July 14th 2010
AFP
           


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