The two countries are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey and the initiation of Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relations with a Hungarian-Turkish cultural season starting on 18 December, lasting for a full year and taking place in both nations, announced Minister for Culture and Innovation János Csák during a press conference at Müpa Budapest on Monday. On the occasion of the anniversary, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey will also visit Budapest.
Minister Csák highlighted that the goal of the season 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’.
Csák recalled that the official Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relations are a century old, but the history between the two countries extends much further back. Therefore, it is essential to ‘reaffirm friendship, mutual respect, and recognition of each other’s dignity from time to time.’ The minister went on to express that the goal of the initiative is to use various artistic disciplines, science, and innovation to highlight points that connect the two countries, not only on an individual level, but also beyond the anniversary.
He referred to this initiative as ‘strategically significant,’ aiming to deepen understanding between the two countries at various levels, extending beyond the highest political echelons to include the realms of arts, science, and everyday citizenship.
Turkish Ambassador to Hungary Gülşen Karanis mentioned that the idea for the season was jointly developed by representatives of the two countries. She added, ‘We thought this is one of the best ways to emphasize our deeply rooted and comprehensive relationships since cultural years are among the best examples of cultural diplomacy.’
She recalled that since 29 October 1923, Turkey has been a republic, and Hungary was the first country with which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk signed an international cooperation agreement on 18 December 1923. At the newly established university in Ankara under Atatürk’s leadership, one of the first departments was Hungarian Studies. Also, Hungary was among the countries that supported the development initiatives of young Turkey, leading to the arrival of numerous Hungarian architects, engineers, and professionals in Turkey at Atatürk’s invitation. Their contributions left a mark on Turkish buildings and institutions. ‘The Turks still remember the work of the Hungarians with great gratitude,’ she pointed out.
Gülşen Karanis announced that next year, apart from Budapest, programmes will be organized in eight other cities in Hungary, which are Pécs, Szigetvár, Eger, Esztergom, Veszprém, Kaposvár, Szeged, and Debrecen. The events will feature Turkish opera, ballet, modern and traditional Turkish dance, music, theatrical performances, exhibitions, literary programmes, film screenings, gastronomic events, and scientific lectures.
On the occasion of the anniversary, on 18 December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also visit Budapest.
Péter Hoppál, the government commissioner responsible for conducting the execution of the season, explained that the goal of the more than one hundred artistic, scientific, and innovative programmes organized during the season is not only to promote Hungarian culture in Turkey but also to initiate long-term collaborations that can strengthen Turkish-Hungarian relations on specific fields.
He highlighted that while Hungary has organized numerous cultural seasons in various countries in the past, it is unprecedented for a country to host a full-year, comprehensive cultural season in another country while the target country also organizes a cultural season in Hungary. The programme was realized through close collaboration between the cultural, scientific, and educational institutions of the two countries and their respective ministries.