2014–2015 and 2016-2017

Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process I and II

Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process is a programme implemented by a Consortium of eight civil society organisations from Armenia and Turkey with the financial assistance of the European Union under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.

The overall objective of the programme is to empower and engage civil societies of Turkey and Armenia to contribute to the enhanced regional peace and stability, democratic pluralism and social inclusion across and within their societies. This would be achieved through engaging new actors in economic, cultural, educational, and awareness-raising activities between Armenia and Turkey, and improving information flow, communication exchange and networking between media, expert communities and institutions.

The Consortium partners include Civilitas Foundation (CF), EurasiaPartnership Foundation (EPF), Public Journalism Club (PJC), Regional Studies Center (RSC) from Armenia; and Anadolu Kültür, the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Citizens Assembly (CA), and Hrant Dink Foundation from Turkey.

The programme included a series of activities in the areas of Business, Policy Research, Culture, Education, Media and Youth. The programme supported travel and fellowship opportunities targeting different actors and segments of societies. Within the programme various activities were implemented, including workshops and trainings for youth; exchange of architects and entrepreneurs; research on business and economic opportunities; media research; agribusiness development; youth and community development as well as policy analysis.

One of the main pillars of the programme is inclusiveness - to engage and support new actors in the dialogue process. To this end, the Consortium continued the Grant Scheme initiated within the ATNP1 to invite individuals and civil society organisations from Armenia and Turkey - other than the Consortium members - to propose and implement their own project ideas, which would contribute to the overall objective of the programme and multiply the shared outcomes.

These are the projects that were realized by Anadolu Kültür as part of Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process:

Armenia - Turkey Cinema Platform (ATCP)
2008 –
Istanbul, Yerevan

The Platform has been realized within the programme of Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process since 2014 but it started years ago in 2008. Anadolu Kültür and the International Golden Apricot Film Festival announced the foundation of the Armenia Turkey Cinema Platform at a meeting held in April 2009. The platform organizes workshops, provides funding for short films and various means to produce films together. The Armenia Turkey Cinema Platform also aims to provide guidance to joint productions from the two countries, create a network of communication, and via the Forum section on its web site, enable the thinking and creation of films made in collaboration.

Meeting of Cities

As part of ATNP: Stage Two project, Anadolu Kultur in partnership with Gallery 25 from Gyumri, Bursa Nilufer Municipality and Gyumri Municipality initiated "Meeting of Cities" project aiming at establishing and sustaining links between the arts and culture actors, civil society representatives and the municipalities of Bursa and Gyumri. A series of art events, including art exhibitions, concerts, theatre plays were organized creating a possibility for the artistic communities to meet and lay a ground for further cooperation, as well as interacting with the audience from the neighboring country.

The first event of the project- exhibition and concert titled "Blue Orb" produced by Human Planet artist movement and Jag-Bambir from Gyumri met the audience in Nilufer-Bursa and Istanbul on April 11-May 14, 2017.

"Blue Orb" is a song, hymn and ode devoted to the blue planet - the Earth, composed by Jag, the founder of The Bambir. It is a song uniting the inhabitants of the Earth, who are responsible for taking care of the planet. The song homogenously blending with the main philosophy of Human Planet inspired the concept of the art exhibition, which combined music with visual and video art, aiming to reflect the human memory, identity, terrestrial landscape and homeland.

The officials from the Municipalities of Gyumri and Nilufer, namely those responsible for the cultural affairs, had an opportunity of coming together during the events and discussing the current situation of arts and culture field in their respected cities and outlining the potential fields and framework for further cooperation.

On May 10-11 Nida Ates from Bursa and Suren Asatryan - prominent musicians in their respected countries, met with Gyumri and Yerevan audiences to present the diverse and shared musical traditions of the region. The concert in Gyumri was held in National Aesthetic Center. Armenian Center For Contemporary Experimental Art hosted the concert in Yerevan.

On May 12-18 the Theatre of Nilufer Municipality under the direction of Engin Alkan visited Gyumri and Yerevan to present Hakob Paronyan's "Eastern Dentist" musical as the first work of an Armenian playwright staged in Turkey. It was also the first theatre play from Turkey performed in Armenia so far. Modern interpretation of Paronyan's "Eastern Dentist", which also reflects the issues in the modern societies, resonated very well among the audience in Armenia.

Creative Action and Public Intervention Workshop
March 2015

Creative Action and Public Intervention workshop was held in Istanbul on 26-31 March within the framework of Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process Support Program funded by the European Union.

21 people who are socially and politically engaged in Armenia and Turkey, participated in the workshop. Discussions on the topics such as gender, environment, public space, freedom of expression, aesthetic-political action etc. were held and field visits were organized during the workshop.

Female Minstrels
January 2014 - June 2015
Yerevan, Van, İstanbul

This project, bringing a female minstrel (dengbêj in Kurdish) from Van and a female minstrel from Yerevan (ashough in Armenian) together, allows them to discover the existing musical traditions in both countries and tell their stories to each other. The traditional musical performance, minstrelsy, is a folk literature that can be regarded as a genre of oral history narrative, which is still preserved in Turkey and Armenia.

Although this tradition is not as up-to-date and as influential as it once was, and the minstrel stories displaying the common past of the peoples have been neglected and silenced by the official history, it is passed down throughout generations and is still alive in both societies.

The project allowed female minstrels from both countries to travel to each other's locations, to discover the existing musical traditions, to rehearse while working on a joint repertoire, to perform concerts and to produce a joint CD.

This project particularly focused on Yerevan and Van. While Yerevan is a centre in Armenia for the collection of shared past of the societies of Armenia and Turkey, Van is an important location for the common memory in Turkey, and it preserves the culture of Turks, Kurds and Armenians.

Concert Program

26 May 2014, From Van to Yerevan (Yerevan, Armenia)
7 September 2014, From Yerevan to Van (Aghtamar Island, Van, Turkey)
12 September 2014, İstanbul Concert (İstanbul, Turkey)


Soloists - Âşık Leyli and Dengbêj Gazîn
Cither - Anahit Mkhitaryan
Kemancha - Margarita Shahbazian
End Blown Flute - Anna Hovhannisyan
Vocalists - Gamze Kızıl, Gûlistan Öztürk, Zozan Dönmez
Frame drum - Anahit Mkhitaryan (Yerevan Concert)
Erbanes - Halime Dimen, Leyla Polat Akkayüz, Nurdan Ulutaş (Aghtamar Concert)
Erbane - Duygu Aydın (İstanbul Concert)
Frame drum and Tomtom - Ezgi Elkırmış (İstanbul Concert)

Painters Exchange Program

A total of eight young artists as well as one consultant from each country participated in the project "Painters Exchange" that focused on art's role in improvement of Turkey-Armenia relationships. The artists attended open air workshops, round table discussions, institution and gallery visits, had the chance to participate in master classes by selected artists, improve their skills, co-produce and exchange experiences. Some of the drawings produced during the project were used in the 2015 calendar that was to be published by the Public Journalism Club.

Creative Action and Public Intervention Workshop
26-31 March 2015

On March 26th, Anadolu Kültür welcomed a group of people in action, coming from diverse backgrounds, to the Creative Action and Public Intervention (CAPI) workshop that took place in Istanbul.

With the aim of opening up a space of discussion regarding the current challanges and opportunities the grassroots movements face in Turkey's and Armenia's contemporary societies, the CAPI team organised a series of round tables, field visits, toolbox activities and presentations. (For a detailed insight about the content, please see the program at the end of the text.) The workshop also served as a platform to gather people who would like to develop their own socially and/or politically engaged ideas together.

Building upon the learnings and experiences of the previous Arts & Activism Pilot Workshop that was also held in Istanbul, the schedule was shaped with valuable efforts of the workshop's facilitators Arzu Yayıntaş, Lala Aslikyan and İrem İnceoğlu.

The six day program started off with warming up activities and the personal presentations of the participants that gave opportunity for the participants to dwell on possible future collaborations while learning their fellow participants' backgrounds and interest areas. The personal presentations were followed by thematic group works that revealed common trends of both countries on social topics such as gender issues, freedom of expression, right to the city, urban transformation and environmental consciousness.

During the rest of the week academicians, artists, activists from the field, and representatives from local NGOs were invited to conduct interactive sessions that further detailed the discussion of the thematic sessions mentioned above.

One of the many invitees for this workshop was Petra Hultman, an artist-activist from Stockholm. She accompanied the group during the whole duration of the workshop to conduct a hands-on mapping workshop that combined different techniques such as infographic, stop-motion, animation and thematic mapping as well as to facilitate the open space session together with Lala Aslikyan.

The mapping workshop which was included in the program as a toolbox activity session took place in Kadir Has University of Istanbul. After a general introduction to what mapping is and how maps have been conceived throughout time, the group was divided into four different mapping stations to work on their collective mapping ideas.

Sargis Khandanyan and Marianna Hovhannisyan, Armenian professionals who are currently doing their fellowships thanks to the Hrant Dink Foundation's Turkey-Armenia Fellowship Scheme, also were present during some parts of the workshop. Marianna Hovhannisyan conducted a session entitled "The Spaces of Intentions - between creativity, politics and society". She introduced the tendencies of Armenian contemporary art during the 1990s. Sargis Khandanyan's presentation discussed the relation between activism and "clicktivism". He also combined the discussion with his master's research on "the role of digital on journalism during Gezi park protests in Istanbul".

At the final day of the workshop, Lala Aslikyan and Petra Hultman conducted an open space workshop where participants got to chance to brainstorm their ideas and molded them into future collaborations. After an evaluation that grasped everyone's feedbacks of the whole week, the team came up with an online communication plan to further consolidate the relations that were initiated during the workshop.

Workshop Schedule
March 27th, Studio-X
Thematic Group Work
Gender Politics | Moderator: Lala Aslikyan
Environment and Urban Space | Moderators: Arzu Yayıntaş, İrem İnceoğlu
Freedom of Expression | Moderator: Banu Karaca ( Siyah Bant )

March 28th, Kadir Has University
Defending the Urban Commons, Begüm Özden Fırat ( Müşterekler )
How to make an online campaign?, İrem İnceoğlu
The relations between media and activism in Armenia, Sargis Khandanyan
Mapping Workshop, Petra Hultman
Çıplak Ayaklar Company
Performance: "You are not a fish after all" | Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanyası

March 29th, DEPO
Philosophical Roots of Aesthetic Judgment and Aesthetic-Political Action, Bülent Eken (Kadir Has University)
Moderator: İrem İnceoğlu
Aesthetic-Political Action: Examples from Turkey, Armenia and Lebanon
Moderator: Arzu Yayıntaş
Speakers: Zeyno Pekünlü, Marianna Hovhannisyan, Doreen Toutikian
How to plan an action? Examples from tactics and methods of non-violent actions, Arzu Yayıntaş
Local Gallery Visits

March 30th, Yeşil Ev
Local Environmental Movements in Turkey, Legal Challanges and Methods
Moderator: Arzu Yayıntaş
Speakers: Olcay Bingöl, Özay Özer, Sinan Erensü, Av. Nurcan Z. Çarıkçı
Field trip to Kuzguncuk Gardens

March 31st, Cezayir Meeting Rooms
Open Space: Action Ideas and Evaluation Meeting