Turkey Exits E.U.’s Creative Europe Program, Reportedly Over Armenian Genocide Dispute

Turkey Exits the EU's Creative Europe
Photo by Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

ROME — Turkey is exiting the European Union’s Creative Europe program which supports the arts, including film and TV — a surprise move that comes as relations between the Turkish government and the E.U. become increasingly strained.

In 2015, Turkey joined the ranks of non-E.U. member countries allowed to tap into Creative Europe’s 1.46-billion-euro fund ($1.56 billion) to support culture and the arts between 2014 and 2020. Creative Europe incorporates the E.U.’s Media Program, which subsidizes production, promotion, and distribution of film, TV, and video content.

“The European Commission regrets Turkey’s decision and the fact that Turkish cultural and audiovisual operators will miss future opportunities for cooperation with their counterparts in the E.U.,” an E.U. spokeswoman. “Although this is unfortunate, the commission respects the sovereign decision of Turkey.”

The withdrawal, now under negotiation between the E.U. and the Turkish government, is to be effective from Jan. 1, 2017.

According to Turkish daily Haberturk, the pullout is in response to a concert, supported by Creative Europe and performed in April by Germany’s Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra, in commemoration of the Armenian genocide.

Turkey rejects use of the word “genocide” to describe the killings of more than a million Armenians and other Christian minorities by Ottoman Turks during the 1910s. The issue continues to be a sensitive one for modern Turkey: In June, the German parliament’s symbolic resolution declaring the killings a genocide sparked an angry reaction from the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

More recently, in the wake of the July 15 failed coup in Turkey, tensions between the E.U. and Ankara have worsened, partly because E.U. officials have criticized Erdogan’s heavy crackdown against the coup’s alleged plotters and sympathizers.

To date, an estimated 2.4 million euros ($2.6 million) has been allocated by Creative Europe to support Turkish films and cultural projects, including the Istanbul Film Festival’s Meetings on the Bridge co-production forum. It is unclear whether Turkey’s pullout from Creative Europe will also affect the country’s membership in European co-productions fund Eurimages, which is overseen by the Council of Europe, not by the European Union.

“As one of the beneficiaries of the fund, we are deeply saddened by the withdrawal of Turkey from Creative Europe,” commented Meetings on the Bridge director Gulin Ustun in an email.

“In addition to providing a much needed financial support to Meetings on the Bridge, Creative Europe is a productive network and a crucial platform for active exchange of expertise for the artists and organisations working in Turkey and Europe,” she added.

The withdrawal is a blow to the Turkish film industry since producers, distributors and fest and film market organizers will not be able to tap into the Media Program’s soft money. It also symbolically weakens their ties with Europe’s creative community.

“It is a very unfortunate decision,” said Basak Emre, co-director of Festival on Wheels, which promotes Turkish films. “Many artists and cultural institutions will be affected. But we do not know the details of this decision yet,” she noted.


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  1. JOE says:

    The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide, especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions…….Why is this genocidal criminal created state part of anything EU is beyond me??

  2. Murat says:

    Europe has mishandled its relationship with Turks badly. Was it better before Erdogan? They took a divided state, Cyprus into their fold, as a full member, as a poison pill against Turks and then hypocritically continued to negotiate membership and make demands. Meanwhile they watched while real genocide was taking place in their midst. There was no Armenian genocide of course, or none would be around today. There was much bloodshed, on all sides. Armenians still continue to kill today. Europe was the main culprit. Turks did not start two World Wars. They now play into Erdogan’s hands. Nothing pleases him more than cutting off any cultural exchange and he is given plenty of excuses. Nice job Europe, as usual.

    • JOE says:

      Turk denying the Armenian , Greek and Assyrian Christian Genocide by the CUP Young Turk Regime from 1915-1918? Typical. Denial days are coming to close Turk. 20% of what is Turkey were ARMENIANS, AND NOW ARE ALL GONE. What happened to their property and wealth? ALL STOLEN. That’s why the big denial. … The irony to your fake denial is that Turks aren’t from Anatolia or the Caucasus at all. Turks are basic invaders, rapers, pedophiles and murders but mostly thieves and occupiers from the Asian foot hills.

    • Marshall D. Moushigian, Esq. says:

      Of course, of course, of course there was no genocide…isn’t it funny how only turks, and people on their payroll, like Dennis Hastert (well, since he’s in jail and no use to the turks, he is off the payroll…) say there was no genocide. Of course, of course, of course…

  3. The Holocaust and Srebrenica was real says:

    Europeans are sooooo civilized and innocent! EU, take your 2.6 million euros and shove it in your own past. Your humanity sucks.

  4. Good. The Western whites hate anyone not like them. They want to colonize and take over every country because the Western whites see themselves superior to others. I mean they colonized the Americas, killed 500 million natives, colonized Africa, enslaved 500 million Africans, took over Philippines to educate them, and so on. What these Western whites don’t understand is one day Turkey was their master and today, Turkey is the laughing stock of Europe and Nato bases are all lover Turkey. Solaiman the Great is probably rolling in his grave. Turkey can become a major power and bring peace to the Middle East. The Middle East was in its golden age and a peaceful place under the Turks, and once the Europeans took it over, they destroyed it and set it back by 1000 years. Only a powerful Turkey can fix this. And Erdogan is the only one who can bring respect to the Muslim world.

    • Chetry Saw says:

      @ Roger Michaels. A “golden age”? Does that include the enslavement of 1.5 Europeans, mostly women and children, North Africans under Ottoman rule and Turks themselves up through the Balkans? And you wonder why Europe is skeptical of Turkish membership in the EU? History matters. And so does the president. Europe wants nothing to do with a “democratic” president building a 1,000 room palace for himself.

    • mike says:

      who ever you are: I don’t know what history books or facts you citing, besides your hateful imagination and tendencies against white Europeans. By the way Europeans did not kill 500 million native Americans: America at that time had less then 200 thousand people when Europeans started to come in. Slavery of Africans did not start with Europeans, started with Northern Africans, and Ottoman Turks in 17th century, when the started enslaving whites, by raiding coastal cities through out of Europe, killing and taking woman and young man as slaves, and selling them through out Ottoman Empire, and Islamic Caliphates that was a century before European whites took slaves from Africa to Americas. By the way all those African slaves were sold by their Black Cheeffs to the whites, so you can hate the whites as much as you want but get the facts correct. Because the whites are today more advance with education, and technology you don’t have to hate them.

    • pohur says:

      “And Erdogan is the only one who can bring respect to the Muslim world.” With what ? Are u joking ?

  5. Chetry Saw says:

    Europe would be better off without Turkey while it is led by an Islamist government whose president has recently celebrated the conquest of Constantinople and who is building himself a 1,000 room palace.

  6. mackd818 says:

    We don’t have a problem with regular normal turkish people, the problem is the turkish government and the nationalists!

  7. Leila says:

    Good riddance. I hope most of Europe cuts ties with Turkey and its never allowed to enter the EU. Erdogan is a sociopath but its good because the world finally gets to see what Turkey is and always has been, a place where basic human rights don’t exist and a country who has a history and a current status of systematic murder be of Armenians, Kurds Greeks etc. This is great news!!!

  8. Dena Schultz says:

    Ergo wants to eliminate any influence of “western ideas” especially in media. He is moving ever closer to an Islamic theocracy with himself as the Sultan. That may initiate civil war if any Turks have the balls to challenge him. That’s one reason I suspect that he orchestrated the coup. So he would have a perfect excuse to intimidate and eliminate any opposition to his absolute power.

  9. Sam Terian says:

    problem with Turks is their ego is bigger than their brain

  10. Jacob says:

    Good riddance.

  11. Simon Steil says:

    erdogan is taking the path of past dictators. first eliminating all opposition then deciding the social mores such as the arts. if i remember correctly hitler and his henchmen decided the direction and what is german arts with those ridiculous statues and paintings. now erdogan and islam will decide and define the arts

  12. Antonios Forlidas says:

    Turkey΄ς origin is from Asian tribes like Huns, Seltzouks and Mongols. They do not belong to the European family. Their governments are very aggressive and they do not comply with the Fundamental Principles of Human Rights, dignity and respect.

    • Shine J Avi says:

      Israel is NOT in Europe, yet our Jewish owned European rulers and others let the Israelis take part in EUROPEAN SPORTS competitions, and allow Israel a FREE ACCESS to EU countries.

      Now tell us about the Fundamental Principles of Human Rights that your Israeli kin observe when using F16s, helicopter gunships, drones, tanks, cluster bombs and ‘White-Phosphorus’ against women and children, which burns victims flesh to their bones.

  13. julea bacall says:

    And now he is on to genocide of the Kurds….isn’t anyone going to do anything? I hope the world does not wait 40 years and then argue over if it really was or not. It was genocide of Armenian and now into genocide of Kurds. Cut Turkey off from everything and make a Kurdish state including all North Syria…just to protect the rest of Syria from Turkeys plans. (and remove all our Nuke whatevers we have there which should have already been started last year. Russia would be a better partner and we must get between them and Iran. We must offer Russia a better deal. As far as safety and world stability, they could be a much better partner If they could trust US. Step back and see things as a whole and see what I’m talking about.

    • Shine J Avi says:


      I bet you had approved Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s ‘INACTION’ against the Israelis, same what he did in 2012, and had supported the latest Israeli slaughter in 2014 of over 2200 Palestinian women, some of them were ALSO pregnant, and over 500 children and men, using ‘WHITE-PHOSPHORUS’ upon civilians which burns victims flesh to their bones.

  14. philipsmeeton says:

    Turkey is an islamic country and really, the principles of islam are in conflict with european values.

    • pohur says:

      Dear Sir,

      If EU is based on Christian values. then good riddance. But if it is more, that is, it is based on secularism, pacifism and humanism; these were the very values that Ataturk established modern Turkey on. Read please, so that u understand when European countries were wallowing in fascism and racism in 1930s, Ataturk promoted just the reverse. As for some commentators who have negative claims on Turks and Islam, let us say, we have heard and seen too much of European bigotry throughout the centuries and we have a saying “the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.” Last thing: Recep is not Turkey, he is just the reverse of what Ataturk has promoted. By the way, don’t you see your face in the 1930s and 40s, when you look at him ?

    • Shine J Avi says:

      Tell me about our “european values’. Did they NOT teach you when you should use a CAPITAL letter?

    • julea bacall says:

      I agree. And #30 Universal Human rights tell us not to let in trojan horses.”Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state, group (even labeled religion) or person any Right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights & freedoms set forth herein.” Islam is a group of Religion/Government designed to overtake either by War or gradually by politics, Mosques and Muslim Schools-molding 1000s of innocent vulnerable Children who grow. Their Values are that they Must be the one and Only True Abrahamic religion/government (which cannot be separated without apostasy) replace Judaism by supersession, and rule every aspect of life. They are severely Apartheid, totalitarian, punishing and controlling with fear. In any host countries they will become a State within you country, grow, get into politics and change the Constitution to things that fit them. Islam is UnConstitutional as a Religious Government which they cannot separate without Apostasy or faking it. Right #30 says NO Unconstitutional entity striving to erode & destroy our way of Freedom. We have to protect it. No Klan, no Nazigroups, no white supremeits, no Islam as they all seek to desreguard/change the core of America, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Universal Human Rights. Freedom does not mean everything is allowed.This article#30 warns not to let in things that want to destroy our way. It says NO TROJAN HORSE..like France took in and will have to have civil war now to get out of Nazigroups &-Islam. like during the WWs (Which we are in again)

      The Constitution does NOT say to let in any Unconstitutional entities. Read it. Its a warning for Freedom and Equal Rights, A Religo-Government with Unconstitutional tenants and rule/laws cannot be allowed in our Country. They belong is a Muslim Country or they will strive to change us one way or another.. We do not want to be as France! We do not want to be as Germany, Britain, Australia, Austria etc. and what is happening in Holland to Sweden where people are beginning say…it was a Mistake!

  15. rwqtwqtwq says:

    Nobody should cooperate with EU countries. They are world’s biggest genociders. EU countries have full of history genocide, massacre, emparialism, slavery, opression and dictatorship. They are always ignoring their own history and blaming others.

  16. Jamie says:

    Good riddance. No one should cooperate with Turkey in any way until it stops its history of terrorism. The Armenian Genocide is not its only crime. The fact that they got away with that is precisely the reason why it continues its greed-driven invasion of Syria. Who cares about the innocent Syrian civilians who merely want to live in peace in their Syrian country? Not Turkey.

  17. Newborn says:

    Erdogan abandoned a long time ago any European dream. Why? Because he opted for that Islamic radical view which is utterly opposed to the secular culture in Europe. Christianity gives a legitimacy to secular laws. Just listen to Pope Francis. Islam not, only Sharia Law which is by definition sectarian.

  18. raffi d says:

    they can go back to magnolia for all we care

  19. Ian Hanley says:

    Watch creative people who cannot get funding from the Turkish state now disappear abroad. The Ottomans banned books for over 200 years to avoid any contact with progressive ideas. Any similarities? The people in charge are not worried about being creative, just being obeyed and seen to be being strong. This action will not affect me personally but this kind of action is petty and so sad.

  20. Adam says:

    The past is repeating itself over and over when it comes to Turkey. old Turkey of Ottoman controlled, persecuted, and pillaged the Middle East ad part of East Europe for centuries till WWI , and that’s why these regions are now under stress and falling behind. The genocide of the Armenian is one of the examples of this history. Modern Turkey now is the providing father and nursing mother of ISIS. They have been supporting SIS with money, weapons, and opened borders to keep the flow of terrorists to Syria and Iraq. And ISIS first thing to do was to genocide Yazidis of Iraq and Christians, minorities, and free and neutral Muslims of Syria and Iraq. Interestingly, when ISIS started to loos to Kurds, Turkey has militarily intervened to brutally hit the Kurds! What EU and creative programs Turkey is looking for?!!!

  21. Tony says:

    oh please turkey please….. come back…. haaaa

  22. jon oullette says:

    Erdogan has openly declared , “I will FINISH what we started ( against the Armenians) in 1915” last April when Azerbaijan aggressed against indigenous Armenians in Arstakh ( Karabakh) and now pouts when anyone reminds him of this grotesquely cruel double standard of denial…weird world

  23. Another attempt to deny the history that everybody knows.

  24. The ironic thing is that many enlightened Turk’s know the truth. Hopefully one day soon they can accept the past, and make peace with their Armenian neighbors. When this occurs , the whole world will celebrate, because it would be a great achievement. Hopefully during my lifetime, i can see this. It would be very nice.

  25. Marshall D. Moushigian, Esq. says:

    One of these days, sooner rather than later, Turkey will come to terms with its past. Turkey’s only contribution to mankind, to date, has been the invention and implementation of genocide. You can add “denial” to that sad and dirty list of accomplishments. Today, throughout Turkey, more and more people are realizing that what they learned in school growing up in Turkey (that Armenians attacked Turks; Armenians were traitors; that they deserved what they got, but whatever they got was not genocide…) is completely false. As well, more and more Turks are coming forward and confessing their Armenian heritage – OK, let’s add a third invention: identity theft – thousands of young girls were taken as brides and forced to forget their heritage, not to mention the boys that were taken – people now come forward, after piecing together their lives to that point (being called “infidel” as a child, and other nasty comments; recalling that grandmother often spoke a different language with certain other neighbor ladies, the language being Armenian) and realize they are Armenian. Like a disturbing scene in a movie, a new one is just around the corner.

      • Cem says:

        Who cares about the EU anymore? They are already falling apart and losing. Their economy is getting worse and worse, and these European countries have an elder population. However, Turkey is getting stronger and stronger economically with a young population. We don’t need EU, but the EU needs us. Turkish economy is even bigger than some European countries altogether. Finally, Europeans are generally biased and racist. Kim Kardasian is robbed in Paris. What would they say if this would happen in Istanbul, Turkey? They would say Turkey is not safe, Turkey is bad… so on! But they never say that currently, because it is christian and european Paris, right?

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