Balances in the world system have changed as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The process initially led through the economical and political changes, but then affected social-cultural fields, too. Turkey is one of the countries most influenced by the process. Kazakhistan, Kyrgizistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan declared independence, and have since developed relations, particularly in the cultural dimension, with the Turkish Republic due to the existence of a shared history. Turkey has provided a new direction for its cultural policy in that short process, and has expanded ties to economic and political dimensions. Bilateral agreements on education, culture, economic cooperation have been signed and joint projects regarding foundations, institutions and universities initiated.
In this context, the Ministry of Culture has established the Turkish World Research Agency under the auspices of the Folk Cultures Research and Development General Directorate, and this was followed by new establishments, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and the Turkish Culture and Arts Joint Management (TÜRKSOY).
The Turkish World Research Agency has been carrying out studies and cultural research and issuing publications about Turkish communities and societies living outside Turkey. In addition, the agency has also been conducting inventory studies regarding Kazak, Kırgız, Turkmen, Uzbek and Uygur people who moved to Turkey after the 1950s, and researching their traditional characteristics. The agency published a special magazine called Kazaks Living in Turkey in 1999. Over the next few years, projects regarding Uzbek, Kırgız, Turkmen and Uygur people will be updated and published. A prestigious book called “Gagauz Folk Culture” (Turkish-English) was also published in 1999.In addition to magazines, field research and inventory studies, the Turkish World Research Agency also offers advisory services on cultural aspects of the Turkish world with the help of local and foreign scientists, experts and others.
The studies carried out directly by or under the coordination of the Turkish Research Agency are as follows:
• Silk Road Folk Culture, Field Research” (1992-93-94-95-96)
• “Turkish Dialects and Accents and Field Studies”
• “Nevruz celebrations in the Turkish world” (1993-94-95-96-97-98-99), in addition to foreign studies regarding Nevruz celebrations, it has also issued special volumes about Nevruz in the Turkish world, posters and brochures.
• “Research into the Culture Profile in the Turkic Republics” prepared and published by SİAR
• “A Gift for the 2500th Year of Merv” (1995-96) was prepared for publication.
• “An International Symposium on the 1,000th Year of Manas Tale” (1995) was held. A special edition of Turkish world Manas was prepared.
• “The Turkish World Photography Exhibition” was held abroad and inside the country.