Chinese cultural events in Turkey to boost mutual understanding

A series of large-scale Chinese cultural events to be held in Turkey are aimed at boosting Turkish people's understanding of China and lay a foundation for the two countries' strategic cooperative relationship, Chinese ambassador to Turkey Gong Xiaosheng stated.

The Xinjiang Song and Dance Troupe is about to go to Turkey to participate in the opening ceremony of the "Experience China in Turkey" program. [Xinhua photo]

The "Experience China in Turkey" program is due to begin on Sunday and covers nine major events, such as the Chinese-Turkish political and economic forums, Chinese folk dance shows, Chinese movie and television weeks and exchanges between journalists and writers. 

Around 100 Chinese artists, writers, academicians and journalists will visit Turkey during the events, Ambassador Gong told Xinhua in an interview.

"This is the largest cultural communication activity between China and Turkey since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1971," said Gong. "I believe it will become the modern-era Silk Road to facilitate our people's mutual understanding."

The program follows the recent visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who announced with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan here last week that China and Turkey will upgrade their bilateral ties to strategic cooperative relationship.

The two governments signed eight agreements on cooperation in such areas as trade, transport, infrastructure and culture during Wen's visit.

The visit successfully pushed China-Turkey ties forward to a new stage and drew a blueprint for the two countries' future relations, said Gong.

"The development of bilateral ties is driven not only by mutually beneficial economic and political cooperation, but also by the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples," he said.

Although China and Turkey used to be linked by the ancient Silk Road more than 2,000 years ago, the two nations have a long way to go to really understand each other, Gong told Xinhua.

"A lot of incidents showed it is difficult for us to get objective and comprehensive knowledge if we learn of each other through the third party, especially the West. We can be easily misled by others," he said. "The more globalized the world becomes, the faster China-Turkey ties develop, the more we need to build a direct channel for dialogue."

The Experience China in Turkey events are intended to introduce the essence of Chinese culture and art to Turkish people and provide an opportunity for them to know Chinese people's way of thinking and daily life, said Gong.

Besides the program, the Year of China in Turkey and the Year of Turkey in China will be held in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

In order to boost tourism and people-to-people exchanges, authorities had agreed to increase the number of weekly China- bound flights by Turkish Airlines to 21 from the current 14 and add southern Chinese city Guangzhou to the destination list, which includes only Beijing and Shanghai at present, said Gong.

"We hope all those efforts will make Turkey become China's gateway to the west and China a gateway to the east for Turkey," he said.

Trade between China and Turkey surged from more than 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 12.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 but dropped 19.8 percent year-on-year to 10.08 billion dollars in 2009 as a result of the global recession, Chinese official figures showed.

Experience China in Turkey events are sponsored by the State Council Information Office of China and jointly held by China's Cultural Ministry, Turkey's Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Cultural and Tourism.

(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2010)