The president of the ECO cultural Institute in his interview with Turkish Anadolu Agency asserted that without Turkey the culture and history of the ECO region is incomplete and Turkey has a leading role in cultural activities.
Tehran/ Anadolu News Agency
Dr. Sarvar Bakhti, the Tajik president of ECO Cultural Institute in an interview with the Anadolu reporter said: “In this regard I must say, Turkey and the other Turkish-speaking countries of the ECO region are the countries where the region’s precious heritage can be explored within them. Turkey, as a founding member of the Economic Cooperation Organization, holds a special place. Without Turkish culture, the culture of the region is incomplete”.
He also expressed: “We consider Turkish art and culture as an inseparable part of our common heritage. We are truly glad that Turkey plays a leading role in the cultural activities. We hope to see these activities growing more in near future”.
Bakhti expressed his sorrow over lack of knowledge of the ECO peoples to cultural practices, traditions and customs of each other and explained: “Although our cultural scholars and academicians know that the countries of ECO region are bonded by common culture and heritage we are not allowed to separate the Persian, Iranian, Tajik, Uzbek and Turkish culture from each other. We have connected with each other throughout the history. We completed each other. We learned from each other. That is why we were able to offer humanity a unique image of our heritage. Actually we have got a precious heritage. That is what we take pride in; however, due to various factors including geographical borders and infrequent cross-border commuting of neighboring countries in the regions, the peoples do not know each other well enough. So it is critical to many people to know that we are like one nation, we cherish a common history and culture. Our people do not know much about the Afghan poets. Even Nowruz which is officially celebrated in 10 countries, our people do not know that it is an admirable ritual belonging to all the ECO countries and they assume it only their own ceremony. This is a drawback that needs to be dealt with through cultural programs to further familiarize people with each other to realize that we have one history, one culture and one root”.
In response to the question that what is the strategy of the ECO Cultural Institute to bring the region’s people closer, he said: “This is the mission of the ECO Cultural Institute. The founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization had come to the conclusion that if they sought to promote regional economic relations, they must bring people closer. How can trust be restored among people? It is only through scientific, cultural and social activities”.
He described the role of Turkey in establishing friendship between the ECO countries important and explained: “Turkey can play an important role in this respect. Turkey with its rich history and culture can play a substantial role. I seize this opportunity and invite turkey to have more active presence in the activities of the ECO cultural Institute. The absence of Turkey has a negative impact. The culture of the region is incomplete without Turkish culture. We need more cooperative interactions with Turkey”.
Bakhti also highlighted the cultural and educational role of Yunus Emre Institute in Turkey and stated: "Yunus Emre Institute is an active center in terms of culture and education in Iran as well as other countries. They have an important mission to hold events that are significant in the region. They bring about friendship, peace and unity for the peoples in the region. I discussed the possibilities for mutual cooperation with the president of Yunus Emre in a meeting held recently in Tehran.
Regarding the impacts of Coronavirus on the cultural convergence of the region, the Tajik president of the ECO Cultural Institute explained: "Coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis which occurred in the entire human society and has immensely affected communities. It is unclear how long human will involve the consequences of the disease. It had also a severe impact on the social and cultural fields. With reduced demand for cultural events, as a result of social distancing, many artists experienced financial deterioration. We designed a motto in the Institute.” We must not be defeated by Coronavirus”. We have transformed all the programs to the cyberspace and carried out several virtual activities this year. By means of gallery we have established the virtual exhibition in the Institute. We are almost doing every activity online.
Regarding the measures has taken by the governments of the ECO region in supporting artists he said: "What we have perceived is that almost all the governments in the region have taken steps in order to support their countries cultural figures. Although not only the cultural figures but also all the vulnerable people were supported by governments. We are so pleased to realize that artists and art enthusiasts were also supported."