By Laman Ismayilova
International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation and the Latvian Embassy in Baku have signed a memorandum of cooperation.
The memorandum is aimed at mutual cultural exchanges, protection of the history and cultural heritage of the Lithuanian minority of Turkic origin - Tatars and Karaims, expansion and strengthening of cooperation.
The document was signed by President of Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation Gunay Afandiyeva and the Ambassador of Latvia and Turkmenistan Egidius Navikas.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Egidius Navikas.
The event was attended by Azerbaijan Deputy Foreign Minister Ramiz Hasanov, ambassadors of member and observer countries, representatives of international organizations and intellectuals.
Speaking at the event, President of the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation Gunay Afandiyeva noted that the building of the organization was put into permanent operation by the order of President Ilham Aliyev.
The President of the Foundation stressed that the official opening of the building was held on October 14, 2019 within the 7th Summits of Turkic Speaking States.
Gunay Afandiyeva stressed the importance of the memorandum signed between the Foundation and the Lithuanian Embassy in Azerbaijan.
"We are talking about the protection of the cultural heritage of the Turkic-speaking peoples living in Lithuania - Karaims and Tatars, their history and promotion of traditions. I think this memorandum is also important for Lithuania," she said.
"Our cooperation with the Lithuanian Embassy coincides with the 2019 Summit in Baku. As part of the summit, we held "Turkish World Week". Along with various exhibitions and conferences, an event titled "Woman of the Turkic World" was organized. The conference was attended by female representatives from various Turkic-speaking countries. At that time, the newly appointed Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Egidius Navikas, assisted in inviting Severina Shpakovska, a representative of the Karaims and their famous artist from Lithuania. I think this cooperation was a start. This year has been declared the year of Karaims and Tatars in Lithuania. I think that we have great events and projects ahead of us," said Afandiyeva.
The Ambassador Egidius Navikas expressed satisfaction with his visit to International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation
"Lithuania is interested in signing the memorandum as we have had deep ties with the Turkic world in the past. Lithuania is home to a small but unique group of Tatars and Karaims. These peoples came to Lithuania in the 14th-15th centuries from Crimea at the invitation of the Germans, as warriors," he said.
Touching upon historical facts, the Ambassador noted that many Tatars took part in the formation of a new government in Crimea after the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918. During this time, the Tatars and Karaims, despite being a minority, managed to preserve their identities.
"With the signing of this memorandum, we are taking a new step in future events, as well as in continuing cooperation," said the Ambassador.
A concert program was organized as part of the event. The concert featured "Karabakh" mugham ensemble led by People's Artist Mansum Ibrahimov, the winner of the Mugham TV contest Gulzar Farajova, the winner of the International Mugham contest Orkhan Huseynli and young singer Amina Nurmakhambetova.
Initiated in 2012, Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation focuses on preservation of Turkic heritage in member countries as well as conducting projects in collaboration with partners in third countries.
The Foundation provides assistance in the protection, study and promotion of Turkic culture and heritage through supporting and funding various activities, projects and programs. It carries out its activities in cooperation with TURKSOY and the Turkic Academy.
Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States (CCTSS) is an intergovernmental organization, which aims at promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic Speaking States.
The organization was established by the Nakhchivan Agreement, which was signed at the Turkic Summit in 2009.
In order to fulfill the objectives and tasks of the CCTSS, the organization has been divided into the following structures: Council of Heads of States; Council of Foreign Ministers, Senior Officials Committee, Council of Elders, Secretariat, Coordination Committee, Representation Office of the Turkic Council in Budapest.
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