Istanbul's location and its milennia-old cultural heritage give it a distinct place among the world metropolises.
It is also a reflection of Turkey. The city's young, dynamic population bubbling with creative energy has turned Istanbul into one of the world's most vibrant cities.
Cultural awareness in Istanbul has developed greatly in the last 20 years and this is reflected in the city's cultural life. Thus, Istanbul is now a center for culture and arts, not only locally, but also internationally.
The city is developing as a crossroad on the world's art and culture circuit - it facilities inspirational exchanges between cultures and it has established its presence in the globalized world as one of the metropolises that will shape the future. Istanbul's selection as a European Capital of Culture for 2010 reinforces and fulfils the city's role and direction.
The 21st century will be the century of cities. By revitalizing their identities, promoting their cultures and sharing their heritages, cities contribute to the development of global culture. Urbanites get to know and understand each other better through cultural sharing. It is increasingly important that culture permeates daily life and becomes more widespread and urban development and urban awareness is raised through cultural exchange. Local authorities and NGOs must take an active role in this process of development, bringing to bear professional sources of information and experience.
Istanbul's tenure as a European Capital of Culture will facilitate that city's (re)discovery of its inhabitants to understand each other better. Istanbul's success as a European Capital of Culture depends on the degree to which the city's inhabitants embrace this project and participate in it.
An important target for the processes surrounding 2010 is to reach out to the millions living in Istanbul, especially those on the physical or social periphery of the city who do not have access to the city's cultural and artistic richness and facilities.
Source: Why Istanbul?, Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, 2010, pp. 11-12