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EU info EU -Turkey cooperation in the field of culture

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EU-Turkey cooperation in the field of culture

Europe is proud of its cultural richness and diversity. EU policies in the area of culture aim to preserve and support this cultural diversity and richness and to help make it accessible to others. Language, literature, theatre, visual arts, architecture, crafts, cinema and broadcasting may belong to a specific country or region, but they represent part of Europe’s common cultural heritage. Cultural industries are also important sources of revenue and jobs, employing more than seven million people across the EU. The European Commission (EC) runs support programmes for certain cultural industries, encouraging them to grasp opportunities offered by the single market and digital technologies.

2008 has been designated the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue to promote communication between cultures in education and the workplace as well as in leisure and sports activities. It also aims at raising awareness of European citizens of the importance of developing active European citizenship, based on the common values of respect for human dignity, liberty, equality, non-discrimination, solidarity, the principles of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights. As part of its campaign, the Commission has nominated high-profile figures, who are committed to, and share, the aims of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue as Ambassadors, including the famous Turkish pianist and composer Fazıl Say.

Useful Links

  • Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey:

  • Secretariat General for European Union Affairs:

  • Central Finance and Contracts Unit:

  • European Culture Portal:

  • EU Culture Programme:

  • European Year of Intercultural Dialogue:

  • Istanbul 2010:

  • Ministry of Culture and Tourism:


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Activities in Turkey

  • Turkey signed an agreement to participate in the EU's new Culture Programme which will cover the period of 2007-2013 with a total budget of around € 400 million for all participating countries (EU Member States and candidate countries). The specific objectives of the programme are to:

  • Promote the awareness and the preservation of cultural items of European significance

  • Promote the trans-national mobility of those working in the cultural sector

  • Encourage the trans-national circulation of works and cultural and artistic products

  • Stimulate intercultural dialogue

  • Turkey is also a prominent player in the ‘Capitals of Culture’ programme, which designated Istanbul as one of the EU 2010 cultural capitals, along with Essen in Germany and Pecs in Hungary. The programme sets out to highlight the great diversity of European culture. Each year, cities are selected as cultural capitals of Europe, thereby qualifying for financial support under the Culture programme. This money funds exhibitions and events highlighting the cultural heritage of the city and its region, plus a wide range of performances, concerts and other shows, which bring together players and artists from across the EU. Experience shows the programme has had a long-term impact on the development of culture and tourism in the cities chosen.

  • In the framework of Istanbul 2010, a series of projects supporting cultural heritage, cultural and artistic infrastructure, urban transformation, and multiculturalism will be carried out. These will enable European cultural networks to expand in such a way that they also include their Turkish colleagues in the arts, culture and academia. These networks would not only help bring societies closer but would also reveal the resources and opportunities available in Turkey.

  • Culture and the development of intercultural exchanges are an important area of EC funding in Turkey. Between 2002 and 2006, the EC Delegation in Turkey supported local information and cultural initiatives through the ‘European Horizons and Mosaic Programmes’. In 2007 two new programmes were launched in the framework of the Civil Society Dialogue Programme:

Civil Society Dialogue: Culture in Action (€1.45 million)

This programme provides funding for joint EU-Turkey cultural projects on the one hand and information/media activities regarding EU affairs on the other. It aims at raising public interest in different aspects of European art and culture and increasing knowledge of the EU accession process. Within the 15 selected projects Turkish partners work together with civil society organisations from 11 EU Member States. The project activities cover not only major cities but also those less exposed to EU activities such as Zonguldak, Adana, Edirne and Samsun. Activities include amongst others an international video competition, exhibitions, a cultural festival, documentaries, a circus, concerts and music workshops. The implementation of the projects started in 2007.

One example of a project carried out under this programme is the initiative "Launch of a European Culture Fest in Adana" carried out by the Street Children Association of Adana 'Flying Baloon'. The EC's contribution to this project amounts to €76.300. The first guest country was Lithuania: For one month, 20 Lithuanian artists came to Adana to present both contemporary and traditional dance shows, concerts, photograph exhibitions and to screen Lithuanian films. In return, a group of street children travelled to Lithuania this year to exhibit Turkish folklore, theatre and music for a period of one week. In addition, Turkish films were shown during this time.

Civil Society Dialogue: Cultural Bridges Programme (€6 million)

This programme has been launched in July 2007 together with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Building on the EU Member States’ expertise, this project seeks to directly involve the EU cultural institutes/offices and their Turkish partners in the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue in order to strengthen contacts and mutual exchange of experience in the field of culture. The programme supports multinational activities with a high degree of visibility covering all aspects of contemporary arts - music, performing arts, plastic and visual arts - and literature. All the projects involve culturall actors from at least two EU Member States and Turkey. A total of €6 million has been reserved for the programme. Project activities are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2008 and run until the end of 2010. The Cultural Bridges programme will thereby also contribute to efforts of Turkey and the EU to prepare for “Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture”.