BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 13. On May 12, the official opening ceremony of the "Year of Shusha – the cultural capital of the Turkic World – 2023" was held in the Azerbaijani city of Shusha with the joint organizational support of the Ministry of Culture and TURKSOY, Trend reports.
The event, organized in accordance with the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated December 6, 2022 on measures related to the declaration of the city of Shusha as the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic world" for 2023, was attended by representatives of the state, delegations of member countries of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), heads of Turkic cooperation organizations and others.
First, the guests got acquainted with the "Cooking and Crafts" corner, organized in front of the GARABAG SPA & RESORT hotel.
Speaking at the event, Azerbaijani Minister of Culture Adil Karimli said that this year is full of important historical events for Azerbaijan and the Turkic world.
The minister noted that the 100th anniversary of the founder of independent Azerbaijan, the national leader of the Azerbaijani people, and one of the irreplaceable leaders of the Turkic world, Heydar Aliyev, is celebrated with great solemnity, and in this regard, 2023 has been declared the "Year of Heydar Aliyev" in Azerbaijan.
The city of Shusha, which is the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, was chosen as the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" for this year, and the 100th anniversary of Türkiye and the 30th anniversary of the creation of TURKSOY are being celebrated with great solemnity in the Turkic world.
The minister highlighted that Shusha and the whole of Karabakh are experiencing a period of revival. Despite the short period of time that has passed since Victory Day was celebrated on November 8, intensive work is being carried out under the direct leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the comprehensive restoration and reconstruction of the cities, villages, historical and cultural monuments, destroyed forests and the entire residential infrastructure. The historical and cultural image of the city of Shusha is being restored, cultural life is being revived in Shusha.
Karimli also noted that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, headed by the First Vice President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, conducts various local and international cultural events in Shusha, large-scale work to restore the country's cultural heritage.
According to him, the First Turkic World Cultural Forum is expected to be held in Shusha within the framework of the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture scheduled for October.
"Shusha has entered history with a number of innovations in our culture and classical music. I am sure that the Forum, which will be held in the city of Shusha, will open new horizons in the development of cultural ties for the transformation of the 21st century into the Turkic century and will become one of our strongest common platforms."
Special Representative of the President of Azerbaijan in the Shusha district, Aydin Karimov, said that he was glad to see everyone in the fortress city.
"I welcome each of you in the year of the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World". This year is full of significant events for Azerbaijan and the Turkic world. The 100th anniversary of the birth of great leader Heydar Aliyev is being solemnly celebrated in our country. The year 2023 has been declared the "Year of Heydar Aliyev" in Azerbaijan. In this context, a large number of events have been held in the city of Shusha, as well as in other parts of our country," he said.
Karimov said that the announcement of the city of Shusha as the cultural capital is an expression of the great respect of the Turkic world for this city.
"Shusha is of great importance not only for Azerbaijan but also for the entire Turkic world. This event is another confirmation of this. From now on, many bright and memorable events will be held in our Shusha," he added.
Speaking at the event, Secretary General of TURKSOY Sultan Raev said that these lands are the cradle of art and music and the birthplace of Khurshidbanu Natavan (poet), Najaf bey Vazirov (playwright), Uzeyir Hajibeyov (composer) and many other luminaries of art.
"Since Shusha has been declared the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic world," we are waiting for rich and memorable programs in this city, which looks very much like the atmosphere of Victory, joy and rebirth,” he said.
After the city of Shusha was declared the cultural capital, a joint action plan was prepared with the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan in accordance with the Action Plan of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Raev said that the opening of the Korkut Ata Turkic World Film Festival will be held in Shusha, saying that the closing ceremony of the current event is scheduled for November.
"At the closing ceremony, the relay of the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" in 2024 will be handed over to the city of Anau in Turkmenistan," he added.
Secretary General TURKSOY noted that the planned program in Shusha will be more memorable than the events held so far within the framework of the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" project.
"This magnificent city is a spiritual center, a source of pride not only for Azerbaijan but also for the entire Turkic world. In my opinion, Shusha is the heart of Azerbaijan. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of TURKSOY. We intend to use this opportunity to present this historic city, which was occupied for as many years as the TURKSOY organization exists, and destroyed by barbarians, and is now free as the cradle of culture, art and music for both the Turkic world and the whole world," the secretary-general added.
Congratulating all the participants on the announcement of the city of Shusha as the cultural capital, Secretary General of TURKSOY Kubanychbek Omuraliyev said that as a result of the independent, consistent and resolute policy pursued in recent years, Azerbaijan has strengthened its authority among the countries of the world and has become one of the leading states in the region.
He emphasized that the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from Armenian occupation as a result of the 44-day Patriotic War (Second Karabakh War) not only became a source of pride for Azerbaijan, the Turkic states and peoples in general, but also gave impetus to the further strengthening of Turkic unity.
Omuraliev expressed confidence that interesting events will be held in Shusha and called on creative figures from all Turkic-speaking countries to take an active part in them.
Saying that Shusha is the crown of Azerbaijan, the People's Artist of Azerbaijan Polad Bulbuloglu called the fortress city the singing heart of Azerbaijan.
Stressing the importance of the Khari Bulbul International Musical Festival, organized these days in Shusha, Bulbuloglu noted that this music festival united and brought together fraternal Turkic peoples.
Speaking about the historical path traversed by TURKSOY over the past 30 years, Bulbuloglu highlighted the support provided by great leader Heydar Aliyev to the development of this organization.
Highly appreciating the work done by the organization to preserve and popularize the cultural heritage of the Turkic people, he congratulated everyone on the opening of the ceremony
At the event, Secretary General of TURKSOY Sultan Raev on behalf of the organization presented memorable gifts to Adil Karimli, Aydin Karimov, Polad Bulbuloglu and Kubanychbek Omuraliev.
People's Writer, Chairperson of the Azerbaijan Writers Union Anar Rzayev said that TURKSOY is one of the organizations playing the greatest role in the rapprochement and cultural unification of the Turkic peoples, and said that the Union of Writers of Azerbaijan has established a diploma named after the outstanding Azerbaijani poet Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh.
This diploma is awarded to those who contribute to the strengthening of brotherhood and relations between the Turkic peoples. Anar, by the decision of the union, presented the award to Raev.
Then the guests were presented with a concert program, in which musical and folklore ensembles from the countries of the Turkic world took part.
On March 31, 2022, in the city of Bursa of Türkiye, by the decision of the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of the TURKSOY member countries, the city of Shusha, the ancient cradle of mugham art, was declared the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" for 2023.
The foundation of the "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" project was laid in 2010 at the 10th Summit of the Heads of the Turkic Speaking States, held in Türkiye's Istanbul.
According to their common decision, every year one city of the Turkic world is declared as the "cultural capital".
Over the years, the cities of Astana (2012, Kazakhstan), Eskişehir (2013, Türkiye), Kazan (2014, Tatarstan – Russia), Merv (2015, Turkmenistan), Shaki (2016, Azerbaijan), Turkestan (2017, Kazakhstan), Kastamonu (2018, Turkey), Osh (2019, Kyrgyzstan), Khiva (2020, Uzbekistan) and Bursa (2022, Türkiye) have been declared the "cultural capital of the Turkic world".
Azerbaijan's Shusha is the 11th city of the Turkic world, which became the capital of the year of the Turkic world.