Last week, Turkiye hosted one of music’s most iconic stars, singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam. The artist was performing a series of fundraising concerts in Istanbul and Ankara, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, First Lady Emine Erdoğan attending the event in the Turkish capital.
Born in London on July 21, 1948 as Steven Demetre Georgiou, Islam enjoyed a long career in music, rising to prominence in the 60s and 70s with hits like Wild World, Morning Has Broken, and more.
During the concert in Ankara, the 74-year-old British star, who is of mixed origin by his Greek Cypriot father and his Swedish mother, gave a short lecture, in which he asked the Turkish president not to “give up trying to find a a peaceful solution for my homeland which is Cyprus, insAllah.
Islam, who before converting to Islam had the stage name of Cat Stevens, was making her debut in Turkey. He took the stage at AKM Türk Telekom Opera Salonu in Istanbul on October 19 as part of the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival, followed by a concert at CSO Ada Ana Salon in Ankara on October 23, for the Başkent Culture Road Festival.
Proceeds from both concerts will be donated to the star’s charity ‘Peace Train’, which supports disadvantaged communities around the world through food aid, access to water and other relief projects. building to improve their lives.
In a short address at the Ankara concert to the Turkish President, who was seated in the front row, Yusuf Islam said:
“Mr. Speaker, I would like once again to thank you for your fantastic and generous support of British Muslims and the building of the Cambridge Mosque in the UK. And also to salute your outstanding work in trying to open the blockages between Ukraine and Russia.
“And I would ask you not to give up trying to find a peaceful solution for my homeland, Cyprus, insAllah. And to continue your precious support for Palestinian freedoms, insAllah, so that all can live in peace in the Holy Land.
The superstar, whose music was one of the defining sounds of the 1970s, gifted the Turkish frontman a guitar, and the couple and their wives posed together for photos.
After the concert in Ankara, the First Lady shared the photos with this message on Twitter:
“We are extremely happy to have welcomed world renowned musician Yusuf Islam and his family to our country. He touched our hearts with his works reflected through the universal language of music,” the First Lady tweeted, adding that they had been “fascinated” by the song of Islam inspired by the 13th century Turkish folk poet Yunus Emre.
In March this year, the Diyanet (presidency of religious affairs) in Turkiye awarded Islam its International Benevolence Award for its charity work Peace Train. The organization is named after a Cat Stevens song of the same name that received critical acclaim in 1971.
Born in London on July 21, 1948 as Steven Demetre Georgiou, Islam enjoyed a long career in music, rising to prominence in the 60s and 70s with tracks such as Wild World, Morning Has Broken, Father and Son and Hard-Headed Woman, who merged folk, rock and country music.
He learned to play the piano as a child, before taking up the guitar at the age of 15, when he also started writing songs.
He converted to Islam in 1977 after nearly drowning in the Pacific Ocean while swimming off Malibu Beach. Since then, he has devoted much of his life to philanthropic causes, with a particular focus on Muslim communities around the world.