Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today met his Turkish opposite number Ahmet Davutoğlu. During their detailed talks on current foreign policy and bilateral issues, Federal Minister Steinmeier seized the opportunity to discuss the Federal Foreign Office's cultural policy activities in Turkey, in particular the Ernst Reuter Initiative that he launched together with President Abdullah Gül, the planned German-Turkish University in Istanbul and the establishment of the Tarabya Cultural Academy in the grounds of the German Ambassador's residence in Istanbul.
Mr Steinmeier explained in detail the concept of the Tarabya academy which focuses on exchange with Istanbul's artistic and cultural scene, and called for productive cooperation between Germany and Turkey. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu welcomed the plan, promising support during the academy's construction phase, as well as subsequent cooperation with regard to its content.
Mr Steinmeier called the Turkish reaction an important signal prior to the next meeting of the Bundestag's Budget Committee, which will decide on whether to release the funds for the academy. Today's talks thus open the door for the founding of the Cultural Academy, due to be opened in 2010, when Istanbul and Essen will be Europe's Capitals of Culture.