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Istanbul-Gyeongju expo to fuel hallyu in Turkey

Cultural event seen to reinforce political, economic ties between Korea and Turkey

By Korea Herald

Published : May 23, 2013 - 19:51

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The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 will be held. (Expo organizing committee) The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 will be held. (Expo organizing committee)
A comprehensive cultural event highlighting Korean pop, cuisine, fashion, martial arts and more will kick off in Istanbul in August.

Aimed at forging closer ties between Korea and Turkey, the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013, which will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 22 at various spots in Istanbul, is designed to help open up a 21st-century “cultural Silk Road.”

A total of 50 countries including 15 European and 18 Asian ones will participate in the promotion of their cultures.

“We wanted the world to meet through the road of culture and move forward to spread dreams together,” said Lee Jong-wook, secretary-general of the organizing committee, at a press conference on Thursday.

The Korean Pavilion, situated at the Aminonyu Square in front of the Hagia Sophia, will be the highlight of the event.
A drawing of the Korean pavilion which will be set up in Istanbul, Turkey for the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013. (Expo organizing committee) A drawing of the Korean pavilion which will be set up in Istanbul, Turkey for the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013. (Expo organizing committee)

An exhibition on the culture of the ancient kingdom of Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) will be held at the pavilion. At the same time, “multimedia performance, Heung,” featuring Korean traditional cultural performances combined with state-of-the-art information technology will be held every day in the pavilion’s performance hall.

Hanbok designer Lee Young-hee will hold a fashion show alongside Turkish designers. There will be a festival of Korean films as well as an exhibition of work by Korean photographers. Korean heritage and writers will also be highlighted during the expo period.

Samsung, POSCO and Hyundai Motor will set up promotional pavilions while K-pop stars and B-boys will hold concerts and signing events.

The expo is expected to strengthen the 63-year Korea-Turkey relations forged during the Korean War (1950-1953), which are enjoying a renewed boost due to the popularity of hallyu in Turkey.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there are about 17 hallyu-related fan clubs in Turkey. Authorities expected the Korea-Turkey Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect this month, to also improve awareness of Korea’s culture overall.

The Korea Culture and Tourism Institute predicted that the expo would boost Turkish people’s awareness of Korea and Turkish tourism to Korea to more than 40,000 a year in the next decade from the current 19,000. Researchers also predict that the event will play a significant role in boosting Korean exports to Turkey to some 40 billion won a year in the next 10 years.

“The expo will be an example of culture reinforcing political and economic ties. Korea and Turkey have been good allies for decades and the festival will be the largest meeting of the two countries,” said Pyo Jae-soon, artistic director of the festival.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)