TURKSOY Secretary General: I love Azerbaijan

TURKSOY Secretary General: I love Azerbaijan

07 January 2019, 14:01 1793
By the initiative of TURKSOY (International Cultural Organization of Turkic-speaking countries) every year one of the cities of the Turkic-speaking states or regions is chosen as the cultural capital of the Turkic world. Various cultural events are held throughout the year in these cities. As a result of this tradition that lasts for already 8 years, second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, Osh, has been declared the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World for 2019”.Thus, the title of cultural capital passed from Turkey’s Kastamonu to Osh. It was decided to hold the 37th meeting of the Permanent Council of Culture Ministers of TURKSOY in 2019 in Osh. It should be noted that the decision to annually declare one of the TURKSOY member cities the cultural capital of the Turkic world was adopted at the X Summit of the Turkic-Speaking Countries Heads of State in 2010. Kazakhstan’s Astana was chosen the first cultural capital of the Turkic world by the TURKSOY Council in 2012. Later, the cities of Eskisehir, Kazan, Mari, Shaki and Turkestan were also elected as cultural capitals. TURKSOY Secretary General Dusen Kaseinov talked about the current and future activities of the organization in the exclusive interview to Kaspi. 

- What achievements has TURKSOY, which celebrates its 25th anniversary, made?How much has the organization succeeded to expand its geography?
- You had the opportunity to watch the geography of TURKSOY at the concert. It is possible to see how many Turkic-speaking peoples live in Europe and Asia from dances. At the same time, not only Turkic peoples live in Turkic-speaking countries. Dozens of people live in these historical areas. For example, if we invite a collective from Dagestan, we know that there are Kumyks, Nogais and other peoples. From this point of view, there may be representatives of other nations among these collectives. And the same is true in Azerbaijan. You have probably witnessed how much the nations are integrating into the culture of other nations during dance performances. They have been participating in our project for many years taking part in each other's dance performances. Turkmen, Uzbek, Bashkir, and Kyrgyz are performing dances of each other and, as a result, cultures intertwine. From geographical point of view, we celebrated our 25th anniversary this year all over from Argentina, Azerbaijan to Japan, i.e. from A to Z. We also celebrated our 25th anniversary in European countries - France, Austria, Slovakia, of course, in all Turkish cities, as well as in all Turkish-speaking countries. The artistic part included a chamber orchestra from 5-6 countries, ensemble of folk musical instruments of Turkic nations, including Mongolia, choral collectives of students and young people. This is our geography. 

- Osh city of Kyrgyzstan has been declared the cultural capital of the Turkic world for 2019. What are the main conditions for the selection of cultural capitals?
- If we have a look at the list of our all cultural capitals so far, we will see that Astana was chosen the cultural capital in 2012, Eskisehir in 2013, Kazan in 2014, Mari in 2015, Shaki in 2016, Turkestan in 2017, and Kastamonu in 2018. Osh is now the 8th capital city. Again, look at the geography, which turns like clockwork - from West to East, from East to West. Of course, from year to year, our experience is growing even more. More artists want to participate in these events. If for the first year it was hard for us to pick up some collectives for us, now we have gained experience. Look, the Turkish orchestra plays Gagauz and Turkmen music. The soloists of the collectives sing in those languages. This is the cultural integration of peoples into one another. All of this requires a great deal of preparation. 

- Does TURKSOY select any city as a cultural capital itself?
- We make an offer to the country the city of which we want to choose the capital. First of all, the history and culture of the city we choose should be rich. For example, the city of Kastamonu is a cultural and historical city. The city of Osh, which we have selected this year, is 3018 years old. We celebrated the 3000th anniversary of this city in 2000. It is one of the historical cities of Central Asia. This ancient city connects Central Asia to Europe. By the 15th century, Oshwas an important route on the ancient trade routes for China and India. 

- You have expressed your views on Uzbekistan's participation in TURKSOY. What steps are currently being taken about this cooperation?
- Our delegation will leave for Tashkent for talks soon. It is expected to meet with Minister of Culture of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Sayfullaev. Then we plan to visit Uzbekistan’s Khiva city as we want to select it the cultural capital of the Turkic world in 2020. We will meet with the mayor of the city and hold talks. We also plan to get acquainted with the sights and historical places of the city. Khiva is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, and we believe that it can draw great attention to the Turkic world. As for relations, Uzbekistan once started cooperation with TURKSOY, however, unfortunately, withdrew later. Now, we are on the threshold of new close relationships with Uzbekistan in the cultural sphere.

- How was a year of "Kastamonu: Cultural Capital of the Turkic World” remembered?
- You can learn it from the residents of Kastamonu. This city is not so popular in Turkey. We must be grateful that we declared this city the capital and introduced it to all Turkic world. The film dedicated to "Kastamonu-2018" shows how many events have been held in the city during this year. Prominent figures, representatives of art have visited the city, as well as book presentations, concerts, meetings, literary events, conferences, festivals, and competitions have been held in Kastamonu. On the proposals of Azerbaijan and Turkey, TURKSOY Permanent Council of Culture Ministers proclaimed 2019 as the year of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker, Imadeddin Nasimi, as well as the great Turkish poet, Asık Veysel on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of Imadeddin Nasimi and the 125th birthday of Asık Veysel. We will celebrate these anniversaries in Osh, as well as in other Turkic-speaking countries, including Azerbaijan. For the celebration of the anniversaries of these outstanding personalities, we are also grateful to the TURKSOY partner countries! We are negotiating with various countries on this issue. For example, TURKSOY celebrated the year of Chingiz Aitmatov even in Japan.

- When will the opening ceremony of the announcement of Osh the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World for 2019” be held?
- You know that for the Turkic people the New Year starts on March 21, not on January 1. Therefore, according to tradition, we will announce the opening of the capital on March 21. We will celebrate Novruz holiday and announce the opening of the capital.

- Are you satisfied with the partnership of TURKSOY and Azerbaijan?
- Everything in our organization should be in accordance with legislation. Six independent countries are our members. Azerbaijan annually proposes to hold the anniversary of any outstanding personality and we confirm. We have proclaimed the years of Molla Panah Vagif, Mirza Fatali Akhundov, and the famous composer Gara Garayev. We are announcing the year of the outstanding personalities in Azerbaijan for the third year. I’m often asked why TURKSOY has such a close relationship with Azerbaijan. My answer is because this country has many prominent personalities, because Azerbaijan is one of the most active members of TURKSOY, because there are many friends of mine, because I love Azerbaijan. So it is good to hear the words "They love you in Azerbaijan". This mutual love is a dialogue of any success. I guess I have answered to your question.
Tarana Maharramova