Reception marks end of Istanbul's one-year tenure as European capital of culture
Istanbul's two-year tenure as European Capital of Culture is drawing to a close as the metropolis prepares to hand over the title to two other European cities – Turku , Finland and Tallinn , Estonia – in 2011. The end of Istanbul 's reign was marked with a reception on Sunday at the Harbiye Congress Center featuring a large group of guests, including top state officials and Istanbul 2010 ECOC Agency officials as well as members of the media. "The Istanbul 2010 agency launched the European Capital of Culture program, but all the people of Istanbul contributed to the events, and this helped reveal that there is a huge awareness of culture and arts in this community," Topbas said at the reception. "This is very important in terms of understanding the arts. … Istanbul 2010 was a milestone. From now on, the culture and arts will be seen differently, and urban life will develop in accordance with these Istanbul 2010 contributions." He added, "Another important landmark is that Istanbul is the only city outside the European Union that has assumed this title. Istanbul deserves this. It is already a city that owns these values. And now that we have all realized this, this will continue."