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Hungarian-Turkish Cultural Year to Celebrate the Two Countries’ Friendship

Hungary Today 2023.11.21.

The two countries will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Türkiye and the establishment of Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relations with a year-long Hungarian-Turkish Cultural Year starting on December 18, announced János Csák, Minister of Culture and Innovation at a press conference held in Budapest on Monday.

The minister stressed that the aim of the Cultural Year is to “support the excellent relations between the two countries, which go back decades, through the means of culture and to strengthen our cultural presence in each other’s countries.” János Csák recalled that the Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relationship is officially 100 years old, but the history of the two countries goes back much further, so it is important to “strengthen friendship, respect for each other, and recognition of each other’s dignity from time to time.”

János Csák, Hungarian Minister of Culture and Innovation. Photo: MTI/Mónus Márton

The Minister said:

The aim of the Year is to highlight, through the arts, science, and innovation, the elements that connect the two countries both at an individual level and beyond the anniversary.”

Gülsen Karanis, Türkiye’s ambassador to Budapest, said the idea for the Cultural Year had been developed jointly by representatives of the two countries. “We thought it was one of the best ways to highlight our deep-rooted and comprehensive relations, as cultural years are one of the best examples of cultural diplomacy,” she added.

Gülsen Karanis, Ambassador of Türkiye to Hungary. Photo: MTI/Mónus Márton

She remarked that

Türkiye has been a republic since October 29, 1923, and Hungary was the first country with which former Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk signed an international cooperation agreement on December 18, 1923.

Karanis said that next year, in addition to Budapest, eight cities in Hungary – Pécs, Szigetvár, Eger, Esztergom, Veszprém, Kaposvár, Szeged, and Debrecen – will host programs showcasing Turkish opera, ballet, modern and traditional Turkish dance and music, as well as theater performances, exhibitions, literary programs, film screenings, gastronomic events, and scientific lectures.

The ambassador also announced that

on December 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Budapest to mark the anniversary.

Péter Hoppál, government commissioner in charge of Cultural Year, noted that Hungarian national holidays will be commemorated, and the two countries will be guests of honor at each other’s major festivals. Türkiye will also host the Puskás and Hungarikonok exhibitions, gastronomic events, a large-scale exhibition entitled The Heirs of Attila – From the Huns to the House of Árpád, photographs by Robert Capa and André Kertész, a football tournament between the two countries’ parliamentary teams, and a Turkish fire-wall painting in memory of important Hungarian figures.

Turkish Minister of Culture Mehmet Ersoy also held a press conference on the Year of Culture on Monday. He recalled that with the declaration of intent signed at the Hungarian-Turkish High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in 2021, the two sides agreed that 2024 will be dedicated to the “Turkish-Hungarian Year of Culture: Centuries of Friendship and Cooperation.”

Mehmet Ersoy announced that on December 18, 2023, the 100th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Friendship, a magnificent opening program will be held at Müpa Budapest.

Minister Ersoy added that the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, under the conduction of Cemi’i Can Deliorman, the conductor of the Turkish Presidential Symphony Orchestra, will present the most popular works and dances of Turkish and Hungarian culture in a grand stage show accompanied by traditional instruments and soloists. At the same time, the world premiere of two new works created jointly from Turkish and Hungarian melodies will be held.

Türkiye will host the closing program of the Cultural Year in December 2024.

Photo: Facebook/Mehmet Ersoy

In this process, during which the two countries set out with the goal of organizing 100 events to mark the 100th anniversary, “we aim to promote our cultural and artistic values (…) with prestigious events in more than 30 venues in eight cities of Hungary,” the Minister said. “In this context, throughout the year, we will organize concerts and stage performances with a wide repertoire reflecting classical Turkish music and our traditional culture,” he added. Furthermore, contemporary art exhibitions, book signing events, and interviews with Turkish authors, workshops, panel discussions and Turkish film screenings, will also be held in the framework of the Cultural Year.

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Featured image: Facebook/Csák János

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