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Sister Cities of Istanbul

The term "Sister cities" or "Town twinning" is used for world cities that are paired for the aim of creating good relationships between those, building cultural bridges, and for better human ties. There are many similar terms used for this kind of paired towns all around the world; twin towns, friendship towns, partner towns, and brother cities, or "Kardes sehir" in Turkish.

In Europe, town twinning is supported by the European Union in order to unite different cultures in different countries and exchange ideas between their people. Sister cities develop many economic and cultural programs, exchange students, organize workshops between their municipalities and involve in reciprocal projects, and collaborate in many other different areas. Sister city partnerships involve two-way communication and are designed to mutually benefit partnering communities. Usually, but not always, sister cities have similar demographic, cultural and economic characteristics.

Several towns or cities in Turkey have their sister towns from all over the world, Istanbul being paired with the most of course. The first sister city of Istanbul was Rio de Janeiro in 1965, then it was followed by Shimonoseki in 1972 and Lahor in 1975. The last sister city of Istanbul is Benghazi since February 2013. The complete list of Istabul's sister cities is as follows (in alphabetical order):

  1. Almaty - Kazakhstan (1998)
  2. Amman - Jordan (1997)
  3. Bangkok - Thailand (2009)
  4. Barcelona - Spain (1997)
  5. Beirut - Lebanon (2010)
  6. Benghazi - Libya (2013)
  7. Berlin - Germany (1989)
  8. Busan - South Korea (2008)
  9. Cairo - Egypt (1988)
  10. Cologne - Germany (1997)
  11. Constanta - Romania (2001)
  12. Damascus - Syria (2006)
  13. Dubai - UAE (1997)
  14. Durres - Albania (1998)
  15. Filipe - Bulgaria (2001)
  16. Guangzhou - China (2012)
  17. Houston - Texas / USA (1988)
  18. Jakarta - Indonesia (2007)
  19. Jeddah - Saudi Arabia (1984)
  20. Johor Bahru - Malaysia (1983)
  21. Kazan - Tataristan / Russia (2002)
  22. Khartoum - Sudan (2001)
  23. Lahor - Pakistan (1975)
  24. Mary - Turkmenistan (1994)
  25. Mexico City - Mexico (2010)
  26. Odessa - Ukraine (1997)
  27. Osh - Kyrgyzstan (1998)
  28. Rabat - Morocco (1991)
  29. Rio de Janeiro - Brazil (1965)
  30. Rotterdam - Holland (2005)
  31. Sarajevo - Bosnia Herzegovina (1997)
  32. Shanghai - China (1997)
  33. Shimonoseki - Japan (1972)
  34. Saint Petersburg - Russia (1990)
  35. Skopje - Macedonia / FYROM (2003)
  36. Tabriz - Iran (2010)
  37. Tunis - Tunis (2010)
  38. Venice - Italy (2007)

Besides "Sister Cities", Istanbul has also signed "Cooperation Protocol" with 19 cities (Florence-Italy 1988, Toronto-Canada 1990, Stockholm-Sweden 1990, Strazburg-France 1991, Varsaw-Poland 1991, Budapest-Hungary 1992, Prague-Czech Republic 1992, Habana-Cuba 1992, Kabul-Afghanistan 1992, Xi'an-China 1997, Athens-Greece 2000, Naples-Italy 2000, Seoul-South Korea 2005, Bucharest-Romania 2006, Moscow-Russia 2006, Paris-France 2009, Casablanca-Marocco 2009, Wien-Austria 2011, Lahor-Pakistan 2011) and "Good Intentions Protocol" with several other cities (Milan-Italy 2005, Tiflis-Georgia 2006, Pecs-Hungary 2008, Gyeongsangbuk-do-South Korea 2010, Penjap-Pakistan 2010, Bogota-Colombia 2012, Karachi-Pakistan 2012, Frankfurt-Germany 2012, Aden-Yemen 2012, Mecca-Saudi Arabia 2012, Juba-Sudan 2012, Dakar-Senegal 2013, Monrovia-Liberya 2013, Accra-Ghana 2013).

Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.

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