The Qatar-Turkey 2015 Year of Culture was launched at the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar's capital city Doha on Tuesday. Qatari Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Hamad Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, Undersecretary of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry Ahmet Haluk Dursun, Qatari ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak al-Shafi, and Turkey's ambassador to Qatar Ahmet Demirok attended the ceremony.
During the opening ceremony, which was held under the patronage of Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, the sister of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the chairwoman of Qatar Museums, musicians from Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism Fine Arts Directorate gave a concert.
In his statement to an Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent, Kuwari pointed out that Turkey and Qatar have signed a strategic alliance declaration and said: "We believe that culture will serve as an important tool in this alliance." Kuwari underscored that Turkish culture is rich in every way and expressed his desire to introduce Turkish cinema to Qatar and Qatar to be promoted more in Turkey.
Dursun, on the other hand, said that this launching party is "an official announcement of the Year of Culture," although the actual gala has not yet taken place. Stressing that Turkey is planning a huge culture and tourism event in 2015, Dursun said that "a huge event will be held in Gallipoli commemorating the 100th year of the Battle of Gallipoli. As a part of Europalia 2015, Turkish culture will be promoted throughout the year in Belgium. We have also announced the year of culture with the Middle East."
He said that Qatar is famous for its pearls and they want to hold an exhibition either at the Topkapı Palace or the Islamic Art Museum in Turkey. Dursun also pointed out that it is the 100th anniversary of Turkish Cinema and highlighted that Turkish films will receive wide coverage during the Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture events. Touching upon the attention that Turkish TV series draw around the world, Dursun said: "When you give color with costumes and romanticism to the historical background, the series not only attract people in the Middle East, but also audiences all over the world, from Europe to the Far East. Right now, Turkish TV series are a huge and unexpected industry. If Turkey utilizes its rich heritage, it can create a foreign market with its scriptwriters, producers, technicians, directors and actors." Shafi said that the Year of Culture is a result of the hard work of Turkey and Qatar. He said that Turkey embodies heritage, culture and history: "I believe that both countries will benefit from this initiative. The relationship between the two countries is very advanced compared to other countries in the region." Shafi said that although the economic relationship between Qatar and Turkey is not satisfactory, they are working to form stronger financial bonds. "We have also signed protocols regarding the economy and investments will commence soon. The emir of Qatar also singed many collaboration agreements when he visited President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. Everything gets better and better every day, bringing two nations together."