Turkey can greatly contribute to cultural cooperation among regional countries, the head of Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) Cultural Institute said on Monday.

“We see Turkey’s arts and culture an integral part of our common heritage, and welcome its leading role in cultural activities,” Sarvar Bakhti told Anadolu Agency.

Bakhti said Turkey, one of the founding members of ECO, plays a crucial role in promoting cultural cooperation in the region. “We want Turkey to play a more active role in the ECO Cultural Institute as cultural cooperation in the region cannot be complete without Turkey.”

“We cannot distinguish between Turkish, Persian, Tajik, Uzbek and Iranian cultures. In history, we were connected, complementing and learning from each other,” he said. “We were able to offer humanity a unique heritage. Many people don’t know what we have in common.”

ECO is a political and economic intergovernmental organization founded in 1985 in Tehran by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Its objective is sustainable economic development of member states, and the region as a whole.

Afghanistan and six former Soviet Republics, namely Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, also joined the organization in 1992, forming one of the biggest regional blocs in Asia and beyond.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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