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Turkey is preparing to apply for the registration of a cultural route at the Council of Europe!

On July 4th 2019, representatives from Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Cultural Routes Society (CRS), met in İstanbul with the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) Program of Council of Europe’s executive secretary to discuss the application process of the Via Eurasia Route.

Turkey’s Culture Routes Society (CRS), an NGO that was founded to develop, maintain and promote cultural routes in Turkey, is preparing to apply to the Council of Europe to obtain certification for the Via Eurasia, a cross-border cultural route connecting Turkey to Italy via northern Greece and the Balkans!

The tentative theme of the Via Eurasia Route is; development, design and construction of roads as a tool which connects society and civilizations on a common ground. The Via Eurasia Route uses and merges existing cultural routes including the Lycian Way, the Saint Paul Trail, the Phrygian Way, the Evliya Çelebi Way  the Sultans Trail, Tolerance Way, Mysia Ways, Via Egnatia and Via Francigena. It is a cross-border walking route that consists of different long-distance hiking and cycling routes, with one end in Rome, Italy (Via Francigena) and the other in Demre, Antalya (The Lycian Way). The work on the route was first initiated with EU-Turkey grant program, Civil Society Dialogue 4 – “Europe to Turkey on Foot” conducted by the CRS in between 2016-2017.

In the fifth phase of the same grant program, CRS is currently running the “Italy, Greece and Turkey on Foot” project with the Italian and Greek partners. Preparations are proceeding for the registration of the route by the Council of Europe. On the other hand, the Aeneas Route is also a new project that aims to build a new cultural route in the Mediterranean, which fuses archaeological and cultural heritage of the region. While it is preserving the cultural and archaeological common roots of Mediterranean countries like Turkey, Italy, Albania, Tunisia and Greece, the project is encouraging the activities around  the figure of Aeneas, a symbol of European identity and civilization. The Aeneas Route is aiming to apply to the same program of the Council as the Via Eurasia.

The Luxemburg based institute EICR is a body of the Council of Europe and is authorized to help register themed, long-distance walking and other cultural (tourism) routes as ‘European Cultural Route’. Stefano Dominioni shared his feedback on the draft application file with the CRS and ministry. Representatives from Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry General Directorate of Promotion, CRS, TÜRSAB, TUROB, TUROFED, TÜREB and Balıkesir Edremit Municipality, were present at the meeting. Turkey’s participation to the protocol known as Enlarged Partial Agreement and the following actions were also discussed. In order for the routes to be registered and certified by the Council of Europe, there are various files that have to be prepared by the academic and management committees and the deadline for submission of the files to the Council of Europe is September 16th, 2019. When the Via Eurasia route submits its dossier and is certified, it will be Turkey’s first registered and Europe’s longest international route with more than 5000 km length.

Click to read the full press release in pdf format.

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