How much will culture and arts play a part in political party programs?

How much will culture and arts play a part in political party programs?

Election campaigns will be starting soon. While party programs are currently being written and the final drafts are taking shape, I wonder what the parties will pledge in the field of culture and arts. What will their approach be? 

I have mentioned the feebleness of the culture and art sections of political party programs in previous elections. I hope that this time parties will grasp the importance of culture and arts.

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV) has shared a text with all political parties, outlining its proposals on the matter. 

This move is the initiative of a responsible culture institution. Since the day it was founded, İKSV has been organizing festivals and biennials in several fields. It has become an experienced institution not only in national problems and their solutions but also in the international context. It is familiar with a number of institutional and practical problems. 

So it could only have been İKSV that could prepare such a list of proposals. The reason is that it has experience in studies, the works of foundations, holding companies, and institutions in the cultural field, as well as their relationships with the state and political parties.

It is not politics, nor is it politicians, that bonds people together - either in Turkey or in the world. This bond is only possible through arts and culture. Who remembers the minister of yesterday in the international arena of today? On the contrary, many people remember a particular concert, exhibition, or artwork.

İKSV’s proposals

In the list of proposals prepared by İKSV, here are some of the most important lines. 

I will only point out the need to build (not multi-purpose) especially-designed concert, opera and ballet halls, the need to repair old libraries, build and staff new libraries, and also support works abroad through the promotional fund of the prime ministry.

Here are some key bullet points from the İKSV text:

•    The fundamental principle is that citizens participate as equal individuals in the arrangement of cultural activities. Culture should be able to be shared by all citizens. The artist’s freedom of expression and the citizen’s right to access and participate in culture should be under constitutional assurance.

•    To protect and promote the diversity of cultural expression, UNECSO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, dated 2005, should be signed and implemented.

•    To advance democracy and human rights in Turkey, to provide social harmony and economic welfare, arts education policy should be one of the priorities in national culture and education policies.

•    The state’s role in the cultural world should be to organize and prepare the infrastructure.

•    Funds and incentive mechanisms should be developed for the participation of artists, musicians and producers to international activities, exhibitions, festivals and biennials to increase the diversity of artistic production in Turkey.

•    Cultural policies should be constructed as part of sustainable development strategies. Public funds should be available in the culture and arts fields on a regular basis to transform cultural richness into economic values.

•    To carry the buildup in the culture and art areas into international platforms, comprehensive activity programs that would reflect Turkey’s cultural diversity and richness should be prepared. They should aim to highlight Turkey’s potential contribution to the world culture of the future in cultural diplomacy.

I expect the leaders and candidates running for office to include culture and arts in their programs and take into consideration the assessment prepared by İKSV.