Brussels and Ankara have selected four projects to be undertaken within the framework of the Intercultural Dialogue Program in a bid to boost cultural interaction and built a bridge between the people.
Speaking at an opening ceremony of one of the projects, Yunus Emre Institute President Şeref Ateş said on Sunday that Turkey has extraordinary cultural richness and this program is a strong sign that this richness is supported by the EU.
"Our objective is to ensure that Turkey stands out in every international platform," Ateş added.
The program aims to award long-term cultural and art projects by setting up an effective network between nongovernmental organizations and cultural institutions. The four projects were selected among various projects submitted after a call for grants was issued by the Turkey-EU Intercultural Dialogue Program.
The projects will last for 18 months and the Yunus Emre Institute will take the initiative of conducting the projects. The Intercultural Dialogue Program is supported by the funds of the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), provided by the EU for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The IPA program aims at aligning Turkish legislation and standards with the EU's and building the authorities' capacity for undertaking this harmonization and implementing the reforms throughout the accession process.
Ankara has been carrying out many cultural and social projects in coordination with Brussels, which is expected to facilitate Turkey's long-running accession talks to the bloc by enhancing integration. There are numerous joint projects, especially on Syrian refugees in the fields of education and health that have been implemented recently.
Turkey's journey to become a member of the EU has seen numerous ups and downs in the last 50 years. Turkey has always been open to cooperation, doing its part within the bounds of its capabilities in the negotiations, which started in 1963 with the Ankara Agreement. Yet, Turkey has been waiting for membership for decades as the EU keeps dragging its feet on the process.
The first project "Unite for Creativity" will form a network of people working in creative sectors throughout Europe. In the creativity centers that will be established, different disciplines and international partners will be developed. This projects is funded by the British Council and will be carried out in Kayseri, Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, London and Manchester.
The second project "Neolithic Bridge of Europe: Anatolia" will bring together scientists from both Europe and Turkey via conferences to be organized in Sofia, Athens and Istanbul. Scientists will record Neolithic history and heritage in Anatolia and increase their visibility. Shooting a documentary on this heritage is another aspect of the project. The documentary will reveal the archaeological sites and museums in 14 provinces ranging from northwestern Kırklareli to eastern Batman.
The third project "Diversity within Unity" on the other hand focuses on reinforcing the cultural integration of countries along the Danube River. Within the scope of the project, Turkish artisans and men of letters will meet with their colleagues in Danube countries and initiate joint projects. The project was presented by the Hungarian Culture Center.
The fourth project "Be Mobile, Create Together" is expected to encourage young people by increasing cultural and art interaction between Europe and Turkey. It also aims to form permanent ties for art environments and unite artist from diverse disciplines. As a part of the project, 26 artisans will stay in artisan homes in different countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey for different periods of time.
The Yunus Emre Institute is a foundation funded by the state to promote Turkish culture, language, history and art. The institute, which became operational in 2009, has 157 branches on five continents and organizes a wide range of activities worldwide as a part of cultural diplomacy.