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In a launch held at the Atatürk Cultural Center, Theatre Foyer Area, for the 2024 Türkiye Culture Route Festivals, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy provided insights about the festival.

Ersoy announced that the festivals would be organized in 16 cities this year, stating, “We are in the fourth year of our Culture Route Festivals. Since we took the first step in Istanbul four years ago in 2021, overcoming the naysayers, doubters, and those who questioned its necessity, we have written a success story for the Türkiye Culture Route Festival. In this time, it has been accepted into the European Festivals Association, which houses some of Europe's most prestigious art festivals, reached widespread organization across 16 cities in all seven geographical regions of Türkiye, and continues to grow. We have hosted millions of people and received requests from neighboring cities wanting to participate. It turns out it was possible, doable, and necessary.”

Ersoy expects an increase in participant numbers in 2024, emphasizing that product diversity and branding in tourism are significant focuses for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He attributes the current success to a vision and policies that integrate culture and art with tourism, offering broad benefits both individually and socially. The Türkiye Culture Route Festival, he notes, has become the most comprehensive in Türkiye and now boasts the title of being the largest in the world in terms of participant numbers. The festival aims to be accessible to all ages and social groups with various free events, removing barriers to cultural and artistic access.

“We have created a festival marathon spread over eight months”

Ersoy elaborated on the goals for 2024. From starting with over 2,000 artists in 2021, the festival saw participation from 34,000 artists in 2023, with a target of 40,000 artists this year. The number of venues has also expanded from 80 to over 500 in 2023, with expectations to exceed 600 this year, thanks to the addition of five new cities.

Ersoy unveiled the festival calendar, stating, “This year, we will kick off the Türkiye Culture Route Festival with the Orange Blossom Carnival in Adana from April 13-21. Following that, the festival will move sequentially through Şanlıurfa, Bursa, Samsun, Trabzon, Van, Nevşehir, Erzurum, Çanakkale, Gaziantep (incorporating the GastroAntep International Gastronomy Festival), Ankara alongside the Konya Mystic Music Festival, Istanbul, Diyarbakır, İzmir, and concluding in Antalya from November 2-10.”

Ersoy also shared details about new exhibitions to be featured at the festival, including a three-month display of over 80 works by Pablo Picasso, Sebastiao Salgado’s “Genesis Project” at Tophane-i Amire, and works by Turkish architect and artist Güvenç Özel, among others. The festival will also feature Refik Anadol's works and a digital installation exploring hypothetical photographs of Atatürk if he were alive today.

Highlighting international collaboration, Ersoy mentioned hosting numerous orchestras from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, alongside a focus on gastronomy, with 110 restaurants in Istanbul, Bodrum, and İzmir included in the Michelin Guide. The aim is to expand the festival to 35 cities by 2028, with the Research and Education General Directorate restructured as the "Living Heritage and Cultural Events General Directorate," under which the festival will operate. A name and logo change has been implemented for better institutionalization, with the logo's seven colors representing Türkiye's seven regions.

Editor: Haber Merkezi