Cultural Relations

Cultural Relations between The Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Türkiye

The Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Türkiye entered into an agreement for the promotion of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of culture, education, science and sport in 1999. There is significant reciprocal interest in the countries’ cultures: a number of Estonian musicians and groups, for example, have been working with fellow artists from Türkiye for many years.

Estonia is popular among Turkish university students and Turkish has been taught in Estonian universities – in the University of Tartu and Tallinn University since 1993. President Süleyman Demirel of Türkiye opened a Turkish language office at Tallinn University in 1997. The Centre for Oriental Studies was opened at the university in the same year and began teaching Turkish and related languages and showcasing Turkish culture and history. Bachelor’s studies in Oriental Philology were launched at Tallinn University in 2000 , with Turkish language as its main subject. A Turkish language office was opened at the University of Tartu on the initiative of the country’s ambassador Erkan Gezer in 1998.

The following overview highlights some of the most memorable cultural events that have taken place in Türkiye.


  • 16-22 June/11-16 September/22-28 September during the European Film Days “The European Cinema Week in Your City”, the Estonian film “Melchior the Apothecary” is screened in ten different cities in Türkiye (Eskişehir, Trabzon, İzmir, Antalya, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Edirne, Mersin and Samsun).
  • At the 16th documentary film festival “Documentarist” in Istanbul (June 10-15), five Estonian documentaries were screened in the Baltic documentaries program: “And the Soup Is Ready in Time” (1983) by Valeria Anderson; “Street ’79” (1979) by Heli Speek; “A Human is Born…” (1975) by Leida Laius; “511 Best Photos of Mars” (1968) by Andres Sööt and “Disco and Atomic War” (2009) by Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma.
  • Jazz duo NordicSounds – Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste performed on May 10 at  Ankara Art Center CerModern and on May 11 at the most famous jazz club in Istanbul, Nardis Jazz Club.
  • The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performed on the Festival Opening Concert of the World Choral Music Symposium in Istanbul, on April 25 at the Türk Telekom Opera Hall. The works of prominent Estonian composers Cyrillus Kreek and Veljo Tormis were performed. On April 26, choir performed in St. Anthony’s Church, where Arvo Pärt’s works were also performed. Conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.


  • An exhibition of drawings by Estonian artist Markus Kasemaa “Figures 1.0 & 1.5” was held at the Ankara Art Center CerModern, April 26 – May 25.
  • Through 2018 | An exhibition on a century of relations between Türkiye and Estonia visits the Cultural Centre of Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Bilgi University in Istanbul and Uludağ University in Bursa to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.
  • April | The Turkish translation of Estonian author Jaan Kross’ novel “The Czar’s Madman” is presented in Istanbul, followed by a discussion with guest speaker Tiit Aleksejev, the chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union..
  • June | Turkish school children take part in the ‘Amber Way: From the Bosphorus to the Baltics’ drawing competition dedicated to the 100th anniversaries of the republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in cooperation with the PERA Foundation.
  • July | The opening reception of Estonia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union is held at the CerModern art museum in Ankara with a performance of Estonian jazz by Erki Pärnoja and Anna Põldvee.
  • Various times | Hortus Musicus gives a concert in Istanbul.
  • April | Estonia’s Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta string orchestra (conducted by Andres Mustonen) and organist Piret Aidulo give concerts at St Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul as part of the ‘Bach Before & After’ festival.
  • June | The Estonian National Opera gives a series of guest performances at the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival in Türkiye.
  • July | A troupe from the Turkish State Opera in Ankara gives a series of guest performances at the Saaremaa Opera Days in Estonia.
  • June | Organised by Istanbul and Tallinn as the European Capitals of Culture for 2010 and 2011, the world premiere of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament is held in Hagia Eirene church in Istanbul. The singers from the Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Vox Clamantis (Estonia) and the musicians from the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra (Türkiye) are conducted by Estonia’s Tõnu Kaljuste. Prior to the concert, President Abdullah Gül of Türkiye presents Pärt with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the presence of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia.