The city of Shusha in Azerbaijan, which was selected as the “Cultural Capital of the Turkic World” in 2023 by the unanimous vote of the culture ministers of the Turkic World, hosted the events held on May 11-13, 2023.

The opening ceremony event of the “2023 Cultural Capital of the Turkic World”, hosted by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan and organized by TURKSOY, was attended by the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan Adil Kerimli, the Special Representative of the President to Shusha Aydın Kerimov, the Secretary General of TURKSOY Sultan Raev, the Secretary General of the Turkic States Organization (TDT) Kubanicbek Ömuraliyev, Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askhat Oralov, Minister of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth of the Kyrgyz Republic Altınbek Maksutov, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Uzbekistan Ozodbek Nazarbekov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Environment Fikri Ataoğlu , International Turkic Academy President Şahin Mustafayev, International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation President Günay Efendiyeva, TIKA President Serkan Kayalar representing the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Azerbaijan Ambassador Gurbanmamed Elyasov representing Turkmenistan Culture Minister Atageldi Shamuradov and Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) Secretary General Fahri Solak, and many other guests attended. In addition, representatives of diplomatic missions of TURKSOY member countries took part in the event.

Participants of the event tasted local delicacies such as Uzbek rice, Samarkand bread and Bursa milk halva at the stands of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Afterwards, the guests went to the Shusha city square and with admiration  watched the shows and dances performed by groups from the Turkic states.

In his speech at the ceremony, Azerbaijani Minister of Culture Adil Kerimli reminded that Shusha was chosen as the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World and said, “The 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and the 30th anniversary of TURKSOY are celebrated with pride in the Turkic world. I congratulate the whole TÜRKSOY family for this reason. Shusha has great spiritual significance for Azerbaijanis. During the 30-year Armenian occupation, 20 percent of Shusha and Azerbaijan’s lands were plundered and destroyed. The call to prayer in its mosques, which were restored after the occupation, is a symbol of the return of Azerbaijani civilization and traditions to Shusha,” he said.

Expressing that Shusha is the symbol of the unity, solidarity and brotherhood of the Turkish world, TURKSOY Secretary General Sultan Raev said, “I thank the Almighty God for showing us today. With this victory, the great Turkish unity of the Turkic world has been strengthened. Today, we are opening the door of culture in Shusha, the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World.”

Stating that for the first time in history, Turkic states are acting under a single roof, TDT Secretary General Kubaniçbek Ömuraliyev said, “One of the most important areas of our cooperation is the field of culture. Today’s brotherly Turkic states first came together in the field of culture and TURKSOY was formed. As of this year, we are starting the 5 Youth International Festivals of the Organization of Turkic States in Shusha with the wide participation of Turkic states. I would like to express my gratitude to TURKSOY and the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, which played an important role in the formation of Turkic culture in hosting the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World. I wish you success from Shusha, the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World in 2023, and wish the whole Turkic world to be prosperous and auspicious.”

At the end of the program, samples of folk music of Turkic states were presented.