As Chinese and Turkish writers gathered in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Wednesday for a symposium, the "Experience China in Turkey" event is drawing to a close after 10 days of programs that have given Turks a taste of Chinese culture.
Nearly 100 Chinese artists, writers, academicians and journalists have visited Turkey since the event kicked off on Oct. 17 under the auspices of China's State Council Information Office, with the hope of helping Turkish people better understand contemporary China.
With a Chinese film week to be held in November, the event has covered the Chinese ethnic dance shows, Chinese-Turkish political and economic forums, Chinese cuisine festival and exchanges between journalists and writers.
Following a successful visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Turkey in early October, the event provided a platform for Chinese and Turkish people to know each other, said Yu Jian, Cultural Attache at Chinese Embassy in Turkey.
As an attempt to improve cultural communication between the two countries, the event not only brought Chinese culture to Turkey but also helped Chinese audience get a glimpse of Turkey through media reports, he told Xinhua.
"This was just a beginning," he said. "We'll celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year. The Year of China in Turkey and the Year of Turkey in China will be held in 2012 and 2013 respectively. These activities are all part of the strategic cooperative relations China and Turkey decided to develop."
During Wen's visit, China and Turkey signed eight agreements on economic and cultural cooperation and announced they will upgrade their bilateral ties to strategic cooperative ties.
A week after the high-profile visit, "Experience China in Turkey" started with an ethnic dance show in the Turkish capital Ankara, featuring folk songs and dances performed by artists from seven Chinese ethnic groups, such as the Han, the Uygur and the Kazak.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a message to the opening dance show, saying the event will introduce China's unique culture to Turkish people and let the two nations share their friendship.
During the event, China's State Council Information Office and Turkey's Directorate General of Press and Information signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation between Chinese and Turkish media on Oct. 18. The two countries sent their journalist groups to each other in September and October.
At the political forum held in Ankara, scholars from Chinese and Turkish think tanks and universities gave speeches on such subjects as the two countries' political and economic ties, their cooperation in the Middle East and coordination within the Group of 20.
China and Turkey hold similar views on many regional and international issues and have great potential for better cooperation, Fatih Ceylan, deputy undersecretary of Turkish Foreign Ministry, told the forum.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Turkey has worked together with China very well in issues related to Afghanistan, Palestine and Iran, he said.
Speaking at the economy and trade forum in Istanbul on Oct. 19, Husnu Ozyegin, chairman of the Turkish-Chinese Business Council, said there were opportunities for cooperation in "virtually every sector" including new energy, auto parts and mineral industry.
At the Chinese cuisine festival in Ankara that lasted from Oct. 18 to 20, famous Chinese dishes such as Kung Pow Chicken and steamed stuffed buns attracted long queues when they were presented.
"Food is part of culture," a college student identifying himself as Nuri told Xinhua at the Chinese cuisine festival held in the Middle East Technical University. "Chinese food is really popular here. I believe Chinese culture is as attractive as its food."
At the symposium between Chinese and Turkish writers on Monday, the writers discussed the impact of globalization on literature and urged rich traditions of literature in different countries should be protected and inherited.
During the event, China's State Council Information Office presented several thousands of books about Chinese politics, economy, culture and history as gifts to Turkish think tank and five educational institutions.
Wang Zhongwei, deputy director of the office, said China and Turkey have a long history of friendship but don't know each other enough.
The event was aimed at giving more Turks an experience of the diversity of Chinese culture and helping them see China in a more comprehensive way, he said during his visit to Ankara last week. Ismet Yilmaz, undersecretary of Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, said during his meeting with Wang that China and Turkey share a lot of similarities in culture despite inadequate knowledge of each other.
"I sincerely hope our friendly ties will grow stronger and stronger in future. More cooperation in culture and tourism will benefit the communication between our people," he said.