Uzbekistan is interested in establishing equal and effective relations with the leading countries of the world, developing ways of cultural interaction and enrichment, and deepening and expanding economic cooperation. The Republic of Turkey occupies a special place among these countries. In particular, cultural and humanitarian relations are an important component of relations between our countries.
We spoke with the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan Ozodbek Nazarbekov about the scope and significance of Uzbek-Turkish relations in this area, as well as about the prospects for further improvement of cultural interaction.
– Ozodbek Akhmadovich, at the beginning of our conversation, I would like to know your assessment of the existing cultural ties between Uzbekistan and Turkey?
– Under the leadership of the President of our country, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan is pursuing an open policy in all areas of development. In particular, radical changes have taken place in foreign policy. Of course, in this process, a new “cultural diplomacy” of Uzbekistan was created, and close ties were established with fraternal Turkic-speaking countries.
Here we should mention the transition to a new stage of cooperation with the Republic of Turkey. So, if we say that a new era has literally begun in relations between the two countries in the field of culture, this is not an exaggeration. First of all, the legal framework for this cooperation has been strengthened. On April 30, 2018, an agreement was signed between the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the government of the Republic of Turkey on cultural cooperation. By the way, I would like to emphasize that the Turkish people have a special love for the cultural and scientific heritage of our country. Currently, projects for restoration of cultural heritage sites in our country are being implemented jointly with Turkish partners. In this direction, close ties have been established with the TIKA organization and the “Gursoy Group” companies.
We are also working on creating works of art together with Turkish film companies that have extensive experience in creating images of historical figures through various documentaries and films. The example of this is a joint shooting of a documentary about the life and work of our great scientist Abu Raykhon Beruniy at the suggestion of Mr. Bekir Karlig, consultant of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey. At the same time, Bozdagfilm, which is famous for its series about historical heroes, launched a major project worth about 7 million USD – work on the shooting of the multi-part series “I am Jaloliddin”. In general, it is gratifying to note the active participation of representatives of the two countries in various joint cultural events. For example, Turkish music bands took part in the international art forum of Maqom art, the international art festival of Bakhshi art and the international music festival “Sharq Taronalari”, held in our country.
What does all this show? These examples once again prove that the cultural relations play a leading role in cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkey.
– At the end of July this year, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu met in Ankara and Istanbul, where they discussed plans to hold Days of Culture of Uzbekistan. However, the situation with the pandemic changed plans. Can you tell us what was planned for this important event and, if it’s not a secret, when is it expected to be held?
– The Days of Uzbek Culture in the Republic of Turkey, which were expected to be an important event in strengthening Uzbek-Turkish cultural relations, have been temporarily postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Frankly, we are currently negotiating with the Turkish side to hold this event next year. With active support and assistance of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Turkey a number of events are planned to be held within the framework of the Days of Culture. Initially, the city of Ankara will host the opening ceremony of the event. A photo exhibition dedicated to the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan, a screening of Uzbek films and a concert program of Uzbek masters of art will be organized there.
Given the fact that many of our compatriots live in Istanbul, it is planned to hold a meeting with the Uzbek diaspora and two concert programs with participation of Uzbek artists. Of course, the event also includes a presentation of a film screening with participation of Turkish partners. We hope that these noble intentions will come true and that this event will be held at a high level next year.
– At the 37th meeting of the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), held in Osh, one of our ancient and flourishing cities — Khiva was declared the “Cultural Capital of the Turkic World” in 2020. During this year, Khiva was to become an international venue for large-scale cultural and creative events with participation of the entire Turkic world. What was the “fate” of forums, presentations and other planned events due to the coronavirus? Is it possible to fully implement them, to approve the status of Khiva as the cultural capital of the Turkic world?
– The announcement by the TURKSOY organization in 2020 of the city of Khiva as the “Cultural Capital of the Turkic World” can be considered as another bright result of the mutual friendly relations between our country and the Turkic-speaking countries.
In order to celebrate this year at a high level, the Ministry, together with relevant agencies and the administration of the Khorezm region, developed a special work plan. According to the plan, this year it was planned to hold about 40 important events. Unfortunately, this catastrophe – the pandemic – has radically changed our plans. However, efforts to successfully celebrate the Year with the TURKSOY organization have not stopped. In particular, on September 4 of this year, the presentation of the book “Uzbekistan-TURKSOY” was held at a video conference dedicated to the 29th anniversary of independence of Uzbekistan. In cooperation with the organization, the work is ongoing to translate the works of the famous Uzbek writer Said Ahmad into Turkish. By the way, the presentation of the book “Uzbekistan-TURKSOY” during the visit of TURKSOY Secretary General Dusen Kaseinov to UNESCO attracted the attention of the world community. At the same time, with participation of artists from the organization’s member States, a video was prepared on the theme “Khiva – the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World”, promoting our national art. As soon as the situation with the pandemic in the world improves, we will organize a major event before the end of the year.
As for the possibility of extending the status of Khiva as the cultural capital of the Turkic world, each organization has its own position and procedure for implementing projects. We respect these regulations and practices.
The 38th meeting of the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) is planned to be held by the end of this year. This issue is also on the agenda of the meeting. We will wait for the results of this meeting.
– You mentioned the book “Uzbekistan-TURKSOY”. Using this book as an example, let’s talk about the role and significance of such materials in expanding knowledge about the traditions of Uzbek people and promoting the country’s tourism potential. What work is planned to be carried out on an ongoing basis?