Cultural Relations

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

The Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Turkey 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 Turkey for many years.

Estonia is popular among Turkish university students: during the 2017/2018 academic year 165 were enrolled in studies in Estonia.

Turkish has been taught at both the University of Tartu and Tallinn University since 1993. President Süleyman Demirel of Turkey 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 the last decade.

  • Through 2018 | An exhibition on a century of relations between Turkey 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 Turkey.
  • 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 (Turkey) are conducted by Estonia’s Tõnu Kaljuste. Prior to the concert, President Abdullah Gül of Turkey presents Pärt with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the presence of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia.