By Laman Ismayilova
An exhibition "Lithuanian Tatars" has solemnly opened at the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation in Baku.
The exhibition featured rare portraits of prominent personalities, as well as historical photographs reflecting the customs and culture of the Lithuanian Tatars.
The opening ceremony of the "Lithuanian Tatars" exhibition has been held at the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation with the participation of President of the organization Gunay Afandiyeva and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis.
Opening the event, the president of the Foundation Gunay Afandiyeva said that modern Turkic-speaking peoples are widespread beyond their historical borders. She pointed out that that Tatars living in Lithuania are an integral part of the Turkic World.
Gunay Afandiyeva stressed that the announcement of 2021 as the year of history and culture of the Lithuanian Tatars demonstrates the attitude of Lithuanian Republic to the Turkic World.
"Lithuania's special attention to the history and culture of ethnic minorities living in the country contributed to the signing in February of this year of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation and the Lithuanian Embassy. The main goal of our organization is to preserve, study and promote the cultural values of the Turkic people, "Afandiyeva said.
Speaking at the exhibition, Lithuanian FM Gabrielius Landsbergis pointed out that the sides discussed cultural ties between peoples that originated in the Middle Ages.
"Lithuania is home to a small but unique group of Tatars and Karaites. The Tatar and Karaite peoples were invited to Lithuania from the Crimea by the Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 15th century. During all this time, despite their small number, they managed to preserve their identity," he said.
The Minister emphasized that in 1918 many Tatars took an active part in the creation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and various state structures.
International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation and Lithuania have agreed on expanding ties on the basis of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed in February.
Then Gabrielius Landsbergis thanking Gunay Afandiyeva for the cooperation of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation with Lithuania, as well as for holding an event dedicated to the Lithuanian Tatars, and presented the "Kaunas Mosque" picture to the organization. President of the Foundation Gunay Afandiyeva presented an Azerbaijani carpet belonging to the Karabakh school to FM Landsbergis.
Next, the guests enjoyed a concert program with participation of talented musicians Nailya Ismatulina Zeynab Aliulova, Rashid Temirbulatov and dancer Amal Akhmedulin.
The International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation was established at Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's initiative and with the support of the Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Turkish leaders.
The headquarters of the organization is located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The president of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation is Gunay Afandiyeva.
The opening ceremony of the foundation's building was held within the framework of the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in October 2019 with the participation of foreign ministers of the member and observer countries of the foundation, as well as heads of international Turkic cooperation organizations.
The foundation focuses on the preservation of Turkic heritage in member countries as well as conducting projects in collaboration with partners in third countries.
The organization 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.
In 2019, at the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States (Turkic Council), Uzbekistan became a member of the organization, and Hungary received the status of an observer country.
In February 2021, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation and the Lithuanian embassy in Azerbaijan.
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