İzmir Governor Mustafa Cahit Kıraç and Jiangsu Vice Governor Xu Ming signed the friendship agreement on Monday afternoon at the İzmir Governor's Office. “We wish to cooperate with Jiangsu in the areas of wind and solar energy,” Kıraç said to a group of journalists after signing the agreement. Speaking to Today's Zaman, Şahin Aslan, the deputy governor of İzmir province, said İzmir was setting up a free economic zone and welcomed Chinese companies to invest. “Jiangsu is China's most developed province and enjoys strong economic and cultural power; there is great benefit for both provinces to work together in trade and cultural exchange. Many entrepreneurs from Jiangsu have already set up business in İzmir. Next year is Turkey Culture Year in China, and Jiangsu will welcome İzmir to hold cultural programs in Jiangsu,” Xu said.
Later in the evening, leaders from the two provinces went to the İzmir Ahmed Adnan Saygun Arts and Culture Center, where the Jiangsu Culture Festival was being held as part of 2012's China Culture Year program. Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Gong Xiaosheng, and the cultural counselor from the Chinese Embassy in Turkey, Yu Jian, also attended the festival.
More than 30 pieces of Chinese traditional ink paintings were exhibited on the ground floor of the İzmir Ahmed Adnan Saygun Arts and Culture Center. Çağdaş Güneş, a visitor at the exhibition, said he was impressed by the sensitive and peaceful feelings conveyed by this art. “It is my first time seeing Chinese ink paintings,” Güneş said. “I really like them and I think I understand them. Ottoman miniature is greatly influenced by Chinese art. For example, the figures in Ottoman miniature have similar eyes to the Chinese, which were considered beautiful by miniature masters of that time.”
Liu Hongpei, a well-known Chinese painter from Jiangsu whose ink painting was on exhibition, told Today's Zaman he was confident that the Turkish audience would appreciate his art because the Chinese and Turkish cultures share many similarities. The painting exhibition was followed by a performance by the Chinese Little Red Flower Troupe, a popular children's art troupe from Jiangsu. They performed Peking opera, the traditional Chinese instruments Pipa and Erhu and drums as well as song and dance. Many Turkish parents attended the performance with their children. “They [the children performers from the troupe] are so sweet!” One audience member told Today's Zaman after the program. “My daughter and I really loved this show,” she said. Turkish children went on stage to take photos with the Chinese children performers after the program.