Comprehensive Cultural Activities Recently Organized Abroad

In collaboration with public and private institutions as well as with non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributes to numerous activities for the promotion of Turkey abroad on a wider scale.

Europalia Arts Festival Turkey

Turkey participated in Europalia Arts Festival as “Guest Country” in 2015, which has been held every two years since 1969 under the high patronage of the King of Belgium.

Preparations related to the participation in “europalia.turkey”, which was organized between October 6, 2015 and January 31, 2016, were carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Mr. Hasan Bülent Kahraman was Curator and Mr. Erman Ilıcak was Commissioner General for the Turkish Party.

Inauguration of the Festival occurred with participation of the President of Turkey and the King of Belgium on October 6, 2015.

“Anatolia: Home of Eternity”, major exhibition of the Festival, was inaugurated on 6th October 2015 at Center for Fine Arts (BOZAR). It encompassed objects from various museums in Turkey.

Being the second major exhibition of the Festival and inaugurated on 14th October 2015 at BOZAR, “Imagine İstanbul” included photographs by the Turkish and French artists, in particular by Ara Güler, Turkey’s well-known photographer.

The third major exhibition was “Port City Talks / İstanbul-Antwerp” which was inaugurated on 22nd October 2015 at MAS Museum in Antwerp. It put a spotlight on the transformation of both port cities since 16th century as well as it encompassed works of young artists.

The program of the Festival was drawn up by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in cooperation with Europalia Secretariat. The program included various activities on music, installation, sculpture, photography, literature, cinema, theatre, architecture, performing arts, shadow theatre, digital art and gastronomy which reflect the historical heritage, cultural richness and productivity on contemporary arts of Turkey.

2015 Reciprocal Year of Culture between Turkey and Australia

During the official visit of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Turkey in 2012, a Joint Declaration was announced, in commemoration of the Centennial Çanakkale Land Battles, declaring that 2015 will be proclaimed as the Year of Turkey in Australia and the Year of Australia in Turkey and celebrated as “Year of Culture”.

Year of Turkish Culture in Australia was launched with a concert at “Capitol Theatre” in Sydney, titled “Turkey in Music/Home of Gallipoli 2015”. Australian side held a reception at Cermodern in Ankara to mark the start of the Year of Australian Culture in Turkey.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism provided the issue of “Postcards in Memoriam” and stamps to use exclusively during the activities regarding the centennial anniversary of the Çanakkale Land Battles.

Under the Year of Culture celebrations, various activities were performed which reflected the relations between the two countries and their cultures, such as; performance of Konya Sufism Music Band, exhibition by Turkish artist Hikmet Çetinkaya, titled “Poppies”, and “Turkish Composers Night” in Australia.

2015 Reciprocal Year of Culture between Turkey and Qatar

During the visit of the President of the Republic of Turkey to Qatar in 2014, the year of 2015 was announced as “Year of Culture” reciprocally in both countries.
The Year of Turkish Culture in Qatar was launched by Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism together with his Qatari counterpart on 5 March 2015 at “Katara Opera House” in Doha with the opening gala featuring Turkish singers, dancers and artists.
The President of Turkey, together with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar, has inaugurated the 26th International Doha Book Fair where Turkey was hosted as “Guest of Honour” on the occasion of the Year of Culture.
Under the Year of Culture celebrations, various activities were performed which reflected the relations between the two countries and their cultures, such as; “Turkish Festival”, The Hunt: Princely Pursuits in Islamic Lands” Exhibition, Taksim Trio concert, Food Festival, literature programs, photography exhibition, communion during Ramadan month, presentations on archeological and cultural sites in Turkey, football match between Turkish and Qatari national teams, workshop on Karagöz shadow theatre and puppet show.

600th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Turkey and Poland


The year 2014 has been celebrated as the 600th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Poland in both countries. With this aim, a Letter of Intent has been signed by the Foreign Ministers of both sides, during the visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister to Poland on 21 March 2013.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, other Ministries and relevant institutions, comprehensive and multi-dimensional activities which reflected the historical relations existing between Turkey and Poland and also promoted the culture of two countries have been realized. 


Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey - Year of Turkish Culture in China

Aiming to enhance friendly relations, promote cultural exchange and further improve mutual understanding between Turkey and China, the year 2012 has been proclaimed as "Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey” and the year 2013 has been proclaimed as "Year of Turkish Culture in China” with a “Memorandum of Understanding” which was signed by His Excellency Ertuğrul Günay, former Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey and His Excellency Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of  the People’s Republic of China on 16 June 2010 .


In the context of this Memorandum of Understanding, cultural activities and joint cultural projects in different areas including fine arts, fashion, design and architecture are planning to be carried out in two countries.

 “The Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey” was publicly announced at the joint press conference, which was held in Topkapı Palace, İstanbul on 3 December 2011 and was officially launched in CER Modern Art Museum in Ankara through an art exhibition entitled “Silk Road through the Brush of Famous Chinese Artists” with the participation of Deputy Minister of Culture of China on 12 December 2011.

Within the framework of the celebrations of “Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey” ending with a gala concert entitled “Tunes from the Silk Road” in Ankara, Turkish people had the opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture with the cultural activities realized in different cities including İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa, Antalya, Mersin and Trabzon.

Coordinated by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Tourism, a comprehensive and substantial program of artistic and cultural activities have been undertaken to provide an impetus to the bilateral relations within the scope of the “Year of Turkish Culture in China”.

“Year of Turkish Culture in China" was publicly announced through a press conference held at the Chinese Ministry of Culture on 12 March 2013.

"The Year of Turkish Culture in China” was launched with the show performed by artists of Turkish State Opera and Ballet at Poly Theatre in Beijing, on 21 March 2013 with the participation of His Excellency Ömer Çelik, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and His Excellency Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of China.

In commemoration of 2012-2013 reciprocal cultural years, Turkish and Chinese Post Offices jointly released a special commemorative stamp figuring pictures of the Istanbul Bosphorus Bridge and the Taizhou Yangtze River Highway Bridge.

In the framework of the "Year of Turkish Culture in China”, numerous exhibitions promoting Turkish culture as well as shows and concerts reflecting different assets of Turkey will be performed in different Chinese provinces throughout the year of 2013.

“Year of Turkish Culture in China” will end with the show entitled “The Invitation of Mewlana” between 15-21 December 2013.

400th Anniversary Celebrations of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between Turkey and Netherlands 

The 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands was decided to be celebrated between March-November 2012 within the framework of the Declaration of Intent which was signed by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of two countries on 2 February 2011.

Aiming to establish long-lasting and sustainable cultural-artistic, commercial-economic, scientific-academic relations, the 400th  Anniversary Activities pawed the way for an excellent opportunity to reciprocally  promote both countries’ rich cultures and contributed to better understanding and cooperation among Turkish and Dutch people.

In this context, a vast amount of activities in various fields were organized in both countries throughout the year 2012.

The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations was publicly announced through the joint press conference, which was held on the occasion of the 5th meeting of Turkey-Netherlands (Wittenburg) Conference during the visit of His Excellency Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey on 6 March 2012.

His Excellency Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey and Her Majesty Queen Beatrix officially launched the celebrations programme during His Excellency’s visit to the Netherlands between 17-19 April 2012. As part of the visit programme, His Excellency President and Her Majesty the Queen inaugurated the successive exhibitions of Levanten Trade Chamber and Central Bank Art Collection and Turkish Garden in Venlo Floriade.

Turkish Season in France 

The year 2009 was proclaimed as “Turkish Season in France” with a Letter of Intent signed by Turkey and France. Some 600 cultural, social, political, economic, scientific activities were organized within the context of “Turkish Season in France (Saison de la Turquie en France)” which was carried out between July 1st, 2009 and March 31st, 2010.

The Season constituted the largest, the most comprehensive and the longest  serial of events and the promotion campaign realized abroad within the framework of general promotion activities in EU countries.

 The Season has been officially launched in Paris by HE Ertuğrul Günay, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, and HE Frédéric Mitterand, the Minister of Culture and Communication of France, on June 30th, 2009. The official visit of HE Abdullah Gül, the President of Turkey, to France between October 6th and 9th, 2009 was the culminating point of the Season. Presidents of Turkey and France have inaugurated the exhibition called “From Byzantium to İstanbul: Harbour of Two Continents” in Grand Palais. La Tour Eiffel has been illuminated with the colours of the Turkish flag between October 6th and 11th, 2009.

Furthermore, an open-air activity entitled “Café Turc” was held in the garden of Louvre Museum (Jardin des Tuileries) in the summer of 2009 during which Turkish coffee and dishes were served. In addition to the historical artifacts exhibition with the theme “From Byzantium to İstanbul: Harbour of Two Continents” held in Grand Palais, other historical artifacts exhibitions themed “Ottoman Textiles and  Kaftans”, “Ancient İzmir and Ionia” and “Hittites” were also held in October 2009. The said exhibitions were visited by approximately 1.500.000 people.

The Season has been brought to an end with the show entitled Müsennâ which was staged in Royal Opera of Versailles. The closing ceremony was held with the participation of HE Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Prime Minister of Turkey and HE Gerard Larcher, the Senate President of France.

With a wide range of activities in various fields such as contemporary and classical music, performing arts, literature, contemporary arts, cinema, theatre, dance, gastronomy, sports, education, design and fashion in all over the country as well as in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux within the scope of “Turkish Season in France”, it has been targeted to introduce cultural characteristics, dynamism and creativity of Turkey to the French society. 

Chairman of the Organizational Committee in Turkey for “Turkish Season in France”, which was organized with the close collaboration of İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and Culture France, has been Ambassador (ret.) Mr. Necati Utkan whereas the duties of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in Turkey have been assumed by Mr. Görgün Taner and Ms.Nazan Ölçer respectively.

Year of Russian Culture in Turkey - Year of Turkish Culture in Russia

Aming to replicate the positive developments accomplished in the field of tourism between Turkey and the Russian Federation during the recent years in the field of culture, the year 2007 has been proclaimed as "Year of Russian Culture" in Turkey whereas the year 2008 has been proclaimed as "Year of Turkish Culture" in Russia.

With the participation of some 250 artists from Russia, dance and ballet acts as well as plays and concerts were organized in Turkey during the "2007 - Year of Russian Culture". A photograph exhibition themed "Moments Lived in Russia" was inaugurated in Ankara, Antalya, İzmir, Balıkesir and İstanbul. There has been participation from Russia in the "23 April-International Children's Day Festival", "International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival" and "Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival".

Some cultural activities have been carried out in Russia during "2008 - Year of Turkish Culture" as well, and all these activities have provided an impetus to the cooperation between Turkey and Russia in the field of culture.

"2008 - Year of Turkish Culture" has been inaugurated with a concert in Moscow International House of Music on April 8th, 2008. Taking into consideration the uniting effect of Poet Nazım Hikmet over the cultures of both countries, Nazım Hikmet Oratorio, composed by Fazıl Say, has been performed by the Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey which was accompanied by the Ankara State Polyphonic Choir during the event. Zuhal Olcay and Genco Erkal have read the poems of Nazım Hikmet as soloists during the Oratorio as well.

Among various other activities carried out within the context of "2008 - Year of Turkish Culture" were ballet, folkloric dance, sema shows, concerts, theatre, mixed paintings exhibition, miniature, hat (calligraphy), tile (Turkish ceramics) decoration arts shows and exhibitions, mixed exhibition on kaftans, gems craftsmanship, ceramics and carpets, a Russian-Turkish books exhibition, fashion week and street festivals - all of which promoted Turkey in 5 different cities of Russia.

Janissary Band (Mehteran) of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has delivered live performances with Red Army Orchestra and Serkan Çağrı Group in the Kremlin Palace in Moscow as well as in Kazan and Krasnodar.

Activities of "2008 - Year of Turkish Culture" in Russia have been concluded with a concert by jazz pianist Kerem Görsev with Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra on December 21st, 2008.

Year of Turkey in Japan - Year of Japan in Turkey

With a view to further advance the historically deep-rooted relations between Japan and Turkey and to contribute to the promotion of Turkey, the year 2003 has been proclaimed as "Year of Turkey in Japan" with a joint decision of Turkish and Japanese Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Coordinated by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade, many private institutions and organizations have participated in the "2003 Year of Turkey in Japan" which included activities in intensely populated cities in Japan.

Special attention has been paid to choose the cultural assets that would attract the Japanese people the most while planning the activities.

Between February 17th, 2003 and May 31st, 2004, Turkey has been promoted to the Japanese people by over 100 cultural, artistic, economic and touristic activities held in various cities of Japan.

Also in 2004, there have been numerous historical-cultural exhibitions as well as shows and concerts promoting different assets of our country. "Three Great Empires in Turkey: Exhibition on Hittites, Byzantium, and Ottoman", Exhibition on Sadberk Hanım Museum Collection, Belkıs Balpınar Rugs and Carpets Exhibition, Folkloric Show entitled "Dances of Colours", Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra Concerts, Fazıl Say Concerts, Greased Wrestling Shows, Kezban Arca Batıbeki Paintings Exhibition, Gönül Paksoy Exhibition, "Made in Turkey Fashion Show", İstanbul Saz Players Concerts were among the activities realized within the context of "Year of Turkey in Japan".

Year 2010, which marks the 120th anniversary of Turkish-Japanese friendship starting with the visit of "Ertuğrul" Frigate to Japan and the subsequent disaster in result of its sinking, has been decided to be commemorated as the "Japan Year in Turkey" with the motto "Turkey and Japan, even closer now".

The activities carried out in this context, which also added colour to the realisation of "Istanbul 2010 - European Capital of Culture", were not only limited with the events in Istanbul. Various examples of Japanese culture and art were exhibited all year long in different cities of Turkey; Izmir, Mersin, Ankara, Safranbolu and Kaman. Activities such as week of Japanese films, kimono fashion show, traditional Japanese drums show will be carried out as well.

"Japan Year 2010 in Turkey", which was launched with a preliminary ceremony in Ankara on January 4th, 2010 in the Cultural Center of "Turkish-Japanese Foundation", is has contributed to universal peace through further enhancing the existing mutual relations of friendship and cooperation that have already been transferred to the 21st century between Turkey and Japan.

In the context of "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey", with the participation of His Excellency Abdullah Gül, the President of Turkey and His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito of Mikasa of Japan, the "Celebration Ceremony of Japanese-Turkish Friendship" was held in İstanbul on May 3rd, 2010.

The inauguration of "Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum" which was established with the cooperation of Japan and Turkey, has been realized in the month of July.

"Japan Year 2010 in Turkey" activities aimed at introducing the beauties of Japan to Turkish people, deepening the friendship and interaction, and moving our cooperation to the future.

"Japan Year 2010 in Turkey" ended with the closing ceremony held in İstanbul Haliç Culture and Congress Center on 25 November 2010.