Moving Muğla: Tackling inactivity in Turkey


After a week full of activities, MOVE Week lives on through its stories. Feridun Ekmekci, MOVE Week National Coordinator in Turkey shares some highlights from the Muğla district.

This year, there were almost fifty MOVE Week events in Turkey. We offered the MOVE Agents support and help with the planning, but the events were mainly organised by the local community. Our collaboration with the local partners was successful, and many of them have become good partners of the NowWeMOVE initiative.

For example, we worked especially close together with the Muğla Metropolitan Municipality’s Tourism, Sport and Youth Department. Together we organised ten different events for people of all ages: children, adults, and seniors. Over 3000 primary and secondary school students from Muğla district participated.

We first contacted the local city government a month before the MOVE Week. It was clear from the beginning that our collaboration would be successful. We established a good collaboration thanks to Hakan Atcakan, manager of the MBSB youth and sport department and Ali Inan, director of the tourism, sport and youth department, who were the ‘leading’ heads behind this MOVE Week. In addition, over ten local sport trainers helped us with the planning and execution.

The kick-off event took place in Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University where local students were given 320 bicycles by the Ministry of Health to support them in adopting a healthy, active lifestyle and improve their everyday transportation.

Of course, one cannot have a MOVE Week event without some physical activity: the students both did some physical activity and performed a modern dance routine for the spectators. Together with the lecturers, the students formed a human “NowWeMOVE” logo on the grass.

This, as many other events in all over Turkey, was realised thanks to the local coordinator, or “MOVE Agent”. At Muğla University, most of the events were organised by Professor Eda Ustunel.

It was truly inspirational to see how easy it is to motivate people and, in return, receive new energy and make these events happen. Whether it was the case of ordering banners and 3000 NowWeMOVE t-shirts for participants or contacting important partners, the good synergy was apparent to everyone.

Throughout the week, citizens of Muğla could join the following activities: table tennis, volleyball for seniors, traditional games, walking and cycling tours, street-exercising, jumping as well as see a folk and modern dance performance.

And it was not only the local people who joined the events, some of the city officials set a good example and participated in the events, too. For example, Mr. Osman Gürün, the major of Metropolitian Municipality, joined for a round of street basketball and the volleyball.

MOVE Week in other municipalities

MOVE Week events did not only take place in Muğla Metropolitian Municipality, the strategy director Hülya Eçen organised the MOVE Week events in Bilecik. There, the events focused on hard-to-reach groups such as disabled people. Other events were also organised for elderly people and young children. All the activities were supported by the major and staff of Bilecik municipality.

Moreover, the Union of the Healthy Cities, (SKB) organised a cycling tour from Bursa to Denizli to support the NowWeMOVE campaign. Twenty-five cyclists aged between 19−65 cycled 580 kilometres in six days, visiting eight major cities on their way.

See the summary of the tour here:

In total, we were able to reach a relatively big group of people. Even though most of the events took place in a local community, we were able to activate a lot of otherwise inactive people. Most importantly, MOVE Week events show that physical activity is not an elite hobby, but meant for everyone – after all, it’s our right to move!





Special thanks to all MOVE Agents, and to my colleagues, Mr Adnan Çangir and Mr Nedim Özdemir as MOVE Week coordinators (members of the board of Enverçevko).

By Feridun Ekmekci – NowWeMOVE National Coordinator in Turkey