The EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue was launched with a Commission Communication1 in
June 2005 with the aim of improving mutual knowledge and encouraging a debate on
perceptions regarding society and political issues. The primary goal of this dialogue is to create
fora where concerns and sensitivities can be discussed in a frank and open manner both in
Turkey and in the EU.
Culture and the development of intercultural exchanges play a crucial role within the Civil
Society Dialogue. For many years, amongst other things, the EU member states’ cultural
offices/institutes and their Turkish partners have been building bridges on a bilateral basis. The
EC Delegation and the Turkish Government would like to use the common expertise
accumulated by them and their Turkish partners by inviting these cultural entities to join the
Civil Society Dialogue.
Their common knowledge about intercultural dialogue and about reaching out to different
cultures would be a significant contribution to this initiative. In this way, the EU-Turkey Civil
Society Dialogue would take a new dimension through a “Cultural Bridges” programme building
upon the common expertise of the EU cultural centres in Turkey and their Turkish partners.
The Cultural Bridges programme is mainly targeting the cultural institutes of EU member states
and their Turkish and European partners. It provides direct grants to those wishing to engage in
multi-partners, joint cultural activities with the aim of establishing a permanent dialogue and
partnerships between cultural actors in Turkey and the EU. Given the fact that some member
states are not represented with cultural institutes in Turkey, they may cooperate either with
partner organisations or team up with other EU member states.
When designing projects, it should be kept in mind that the specific aim of this programme is to
improve the Civil Society Dialogue through the medium of cultural activities and to ensure the
cooperation of the cultural actors and operators from both sides to work towards this end.
Therefore, a lasting and sustainable EU-Turkey dialogue and partnership focused on
culture is at the heart of the Cultural Bridges programme.
The European Commission and the Turkish Government call for expressions of interest from
the EU member states’ cultural centres and their Turkish partners to participate in the
All aspects of contemporary arts will be covered: music, performing arts, plastic and visual arts,
literature, as well as cultural information activities. In addition, the Cultural Bridges programme
will also contribute to the effort of Turkey and the EU to prepare for “Istanbul 2010 European
Capital of Culture”.
Communication on the Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Candidate Countries
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An indicative amount of up to € 6 million has been reserved for the Cultural Bridges programme
from Turkey’s pre-accession assistance. In addition a technical assistance team will be in place
for the promotion of the overall programme as well as a result oriented evaluation.
Key requirements
Under the Cultural Bridges programme, EU cultural institutes present in Turkey are eligible as
project leaders, provided they demonstrate sufficient operational capacity in Turkey to
implement multilateral activities with a high degree of visibility. To give the programme a true
dimension of dialogue, they must involve at least one Turkish cultural actor as partner in the
The EU cultural institute, acting as project leader, will be legally responsible for the preparation
and management of the project; it cannot act as intermediary. Turkish and EU NGOs, public
administrations (municipalities, governmental agencies) and media organisations can also be
included in the project as partners, provided they are acting on a non-profit basis. There is no
upper limit to the number of partners in a project. EU partners do not necessarily have to be
permanently present in Turkey.
EU member states not represented with a cultural institute can also express interest provided
that they either cooperate with partner organisations and/or team up with other EU member
states in order to reach the operational capacity needed.
The EC support will be in the form of direct grants. EU member states can contribute to the
actions, should they wish to do so. However, their contributions may not exceed 49% of the
total eligible costs of the project. To ensure the widest representation possible throughout the
programme, EU member states including their cultural institutes may be represented in only
one project proposal, that is either as project leader or as a partner.
Any grant requested under the Cultural Bridges programme must comprise a minimum of
€300.000 and a maximum of €1.5 million. The project must not exceed a maximum duration of
30 months. This programme will be under the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Republic of Turkey with the Turkish Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) as
contracting authority, in the framework of the decentralised implementation system.
Eligible activities and costs
The programme is designed to support multinational cultural activities with a high degree of
visibility. All aspects of contemporary arts - music, performing arts, plastic and visual arts and,
literature - are covered by the programme. A comprehensive project can also encompass all or
several of these artistic fields.
The projects should include some element of mobility of artists, creative practitioners, works of
art, and/or address the theme of "Intercultural Dialogue" which aims "to strengthen respect for
cultural diversity and to support the coexistence of different cultural identities and beliefs’’. The
activities should acknowledge the contribution of different cultures to the European and Turkish
heritage and way of life.
Activities should notably take place in Turkey (and may also to some extent take place in the
EU). The projects should address the following requirements:
- each project activity must involve participation of a minimum of three cultural actors (NGOs
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E-mail: – Website:
or individuals), at least one of them from Turkey and at least two from the EU representing
different member states,
- target the public at large and be accessible to the largest number of citizens in Turkey and
the EU,
- increase the visibility of European arts and culture in Turkey and Turkish arts and culture in
the EU member states,
- provide a special focus on initiating and sustaining a lasting dialogue and partnership
between cultural actors from both sides. One-off activities (such as exhibitions, for
example) will not have priority,
- be innovative in their dialogue components.
Furthermore, project leaders should clearly demonstrate how activities in the context of this
programme are additional to bilateral activities already taking place. Under no circumstances
EC financial support will be given for the following expenditures:
Permanent staff of the parties involved, other than the incremental cost directly related to
the project;
Translations of literary pieces;
Language teaching;
Normal programmes of an EU cultural institute (i.e. EU support under this programme must
not replace and/or finance existing activities).
The purchase of equipment necessary for specific activities carried out under each grant must
not exceed 5% of the total eligible costs. EU member states are therefore expected to
contribute to the project by providing offices, human resources, as well as
administrative costs necessary for the management of the project activities.
A Steering Committee comprised of reputable artists and officials from Turkey and the EU will
provide advice and visibility to the Cultural Bridges programme. The role of the Steering
Committee is to coordinate the activities, ensure that the multicultural character of the
programme is reflected in the selected projects.
The day-to-day management of the programme will be supervised by a Management
Committee composed of experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish Central
Finance and Contracts Unit, and the EC Delegation to Turkey.
A technical assistance team will assist these bodies in their work, organise their meetings, and
help promote the Cultural Bridges programme.
EU member states and Turkish cultural actors will be informed in detail about the Cultural
Bridges programme by way of a press release and at the EU Civil Society Working Group
meeting that takes place on 16 July 2007. Thereafter, interested project holders are requested
to submit a statement of interest, including a detailed project outline to the EC Delegation until
12 September 2007 at the latest.
Based on the statement of interests received, the EC Delegation and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs will include the Cultural Bridges programme as part of the Financing Decision to be
adopted by the end of 2007. This programme will cover those project proposals that meet the
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eligibility and quality criteria and priorities set forth above. In addition to relevance, the capacity
to implement such multilateral projects will be decisive. Considering the limited budget, only the
best proposals will be selected for funding. Allocation of funds will be decided by the EC
Delegation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs based on the quality of the answers to the call for
Following the adoption of the Financing Decision, relevant project holders will be asked to
present a detailed project proposal on which basis direct grant agreements will be prepared by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These agreements will be signed in 2008 between the EU
member states and the Central Finance and Contracts Unit (acting as contracting authority).
16 July 2007
12 September 2007
September 2007
December 2007
1st quarter 2008
March/April 2008
Civil Society Working Group meeting: project presentation
Deadline: submission of statement of interest
Selection and provisional notification
Adoption of Financing Decision by the European Commission
EU member states to submit detailed project proposals
Contracting of direct grant agreements with EU member states
Submission of statements of expression of interest
EC Delegation to Turkey
Reference: ‘Cultural Bridges Programme’
Uğur Mumcu Cad. 88, 4th Floor
Gaziosmanpaşa, 06700 Ankara/Turkey
Tel: (+90.312) 459 87 00
Fax : (+90.312) 446 67 37
Contact: Seda Erden, Sector Manager Culture and Audiovisual Policy
Address: Uğur Mumcu Cad. 88, 4th Floor, Gaziosmanpaşa, 06700 Ankara/Turkey
Tel: (+90.312) 459 87 00 Fax : (+90.312) 446 67 37
E-mail: – Website:
Civil Society Dialogue
Cultural Bridges Programme
Deadline for submission: 12th September 2007
EU member state
Title of the Proposal
Contact person:
Requested Amount
Please provide the following information (maximum of 10 pages):
1. Summary of the project:
Brief description of the proposed project.
Who will be your main implementing body and partners involved in the project?
2. Operational capacity and expertise:
What is the experience and capacity of your implementing body in project
What is your and your partners’ experience in Turkey in the cultural field?
3. Relevance:
Brief description of the relevance of your proposal to the aims and objectives of the
Cultural Bridges programme and the expected results of your activities.
Who are the actors involved (final beneficiaries, target groups)?
Please demonstrate the specific dialogue dimension in comparison to regular bilateral
activities taking place bearing in mind that EC support under this call for expression of
interest must not replace/finance existing activities.
4. Methodology:
What are the main project activities?
How will you ensure a high degree of EU visibility?
5. Budgetary details
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