Turkey, Belarus to join forces in culture, art

Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Atilla Koc and his Belarusian counterpart, Vladimir Matveychuk, signed a protocol on Wednesday for cooperation in culture and art.

Koc received the visiting minister and his entourage at his ministry's building in Ulus, Istanbul.

The two ministers held a joint press conference after the meeting. Koc told reporters he hoped the protocol would play a constructive role and strengthen the links between Turkey and Belarus. The Turkish minister said mutual cultural organizations and cooperation in music, opera, ballet, film and theater would be encouraged. "The national libraries will also contribute to this mutual cultural exchange and acquaintance," Koc added.

The protocol urges cooperation in exchanges of scientific knowledge and publications in the fields of art training, vocational and artistic exhibitions and restoration of ancient artifacts. The two countries will also exchange knowledge through international festivals and will support each other with participation.

Belarusian Minister Matveychuk expressed his pleasure with the welcome he and his entourage received and said they felt at home in Turkey. Matveychuk said the interest and warm talks signaled a large-scale future cooperation and named the cultural cooperation the "crown" of all the other bilateral relations which he said should be developed. Matveychuk also proposed the idea of initiating Belarusian days in Turkey.