An International Bridge of Hearts and Souls

When evaluating the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), much emphasis is placed upon economic partnership and mutual gains in international trade. Developing world countries seek to achieve sustainable development through partnerships developed within the scope of the BRI. All this is true, but too much focus on this aspect alone means underestimating the true potential of the Initiative. 

The spirit of the BRI lies in the concept of “sharing”. The principle of “shared development”, which is at the core of the Initiative, devises a brand new understanding of partnership in the age of imperialism. In the meantime, it also offers clues for an alternative system of international relations that challenges imperialism.

Asia’s call to share, as the heart and soul of the Silk Road, comes from our common history and is powered by the historical roots of Asia, the cradle of civilizations.

The Silk Road peoples, who have been intertwined and mixed for thousands of years, stand up for harmony, which will pave the way for a brand new civilization, not for a “clash of civilizations”.

Yunus Emre, whom we commemorate on the 700th anniversary of his death, is the representative of a conception that permeates the genes of Asian peoples. Our great poet Yunus Emre, who represents the common philosophy of Asian peoples, is the coryphaeus of the spirit of humanity, sharing, and solidarity coming from the Anatolian geography, where all nations are blended. In the relationship between different cultures, the BRI is based on a threefold understanding that the culture of a nation is neither superior nor inferior to that of other cultures, that all these cultures represent the common value of humanity, and that cultures develop as they share. The BRI approaches differences with tolerance and understanding. This is a completely different understanding from the Western-imperialist approach that has derogated other cultures and their peoples for the last four centuries. The BRI’s understanding is also the key to establishing the “heaven on earth” that Yunus Emre heralded about 700 years ago. The strongest structures made by human hands can be destroyed, but it is not easy to erase or destroy the culture that the people have accumulated throughout history. From Sumerian poets to China’s Confucius, from Anatolia’s Yunus Emre to India’s Kabir, to Arabs', Persians' and Turks' Fuzuli, the breath of many more folk sages continues to ignite hearts all over the world. Sharing requires the siblinghood and companionship of societies that have common problems and the unity of heart. The hearts should be one so that they can produce together and share. It is a common struggle that requires the societies, which have common sufferings, to share the challenges ahead.

In the BRI, there is a need to build bridges not only to connect seas, highways, and railways but also between hearts and souls. A bridge of hearts and souls for the civilization that will materialize a real harmony between human beings and the nature, where all the peoples of the world will be siblings/comrades, starting from the developing world...


We are saddened to announce the passing of Selim Yaşar, one of Turkey’s most prominent businesspeople. As a highly creative representative of the business world and an outstanding intellectual bringing solutions for Turkey’s problems, he had joined the BRIQ family since the earliest days of its establishment. We convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends!




Although the Silk Road is named after the product that generated its economic value, its greatest contribution to human history is how it enabled the mutual interaction of civilisations. Despite its economic importance being stuck at its lowest in history for a long time, its value is beginning to be re-evaluated, and it is necessary to reflect upon the impact of the Silk Road on cultural change. In this short study, we will consider the long journey of Yunus Emre on the Silk Road and his excellent humanism from the Fergana Valley to the Anatolian steppes in the “2021 Yunus Emre and Turkish language year”. First, we will outline the Silk Road’s place in Asia’s cultural world and its present influence. Finally, we will put Yunus Emre and his philosophy in this framework. In order to understand the inner and outer world of Yunus, a great son of the Silk Road, let us briefly review the reasons for the Silk Road’s existence and the historical interactions of cultures on the road. In this way, we will consider the conditions that made Yunus Emre through historical, economic, and cultural dimensions whilst uncovering the secrets of the land that created him and brought his work to the present day.

Keywords: music, philosophy, poetry, Sufi, Turk


To meet our common challenges and create a better future for all, we look to culture and civilization to play their role, which is as important as the role played by economy, science and technology. The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations has convened to create a new platform for civilizations in Asia and beyond to engage in dialogue and exchanges on an equal footing to facilitate mutual learning.


This article aims to analyze the scope and features of China-Arab cultural relations and its implications on their bilateral political and economic partnerships. These bilateral relations have evolved from strategic cooperation in 2010 to strategic partnership in 2018. Political cooperation, economic development, and cultural exchanges represent the three pillars of the contemporary China-Arab strategic partnership. China’s cultural exchanges with Arab countries are implemented by different agencies. Education, publication, tourist, and religious exchanges have become the main pillars of cultural exchange. In this process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Xinhua News Agency, the State Administration of Radio and Television, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Press and Publication Administration, the State Administration of Religion, the Ministry of Education, the China Center for Language Education and Cooperation, the China-Arab Friendship Association, and other departments have formed a portfolio to participate in cultural exchanges between China and Arab countries. Their cultural exchanges are driven by Chinese and Arab officials. The two sides have set an example of South-South cooperation for exchanges of hearts and minds. Through the process, strategic cooperation between China and Arab countries has been enriched, which is an important means to enhance China’s soft power in the Arab world. On this background, in this study firstly, it is introduced what the Chinese tools for cultural cooperation and which organizations are used, then the intellectual cooperation between China and Arab countries, the role of public opinion, the ways for improving mutual understanding, interactions between religious groups will be analyzed. It is also questioned the prospects of China-Arab cultural exchange. Finally, these issues will be evaluated in conclusion.

Keywords: Belt & Road Initiative, China-Arab relations, China’s Middle East diplomacy, cultural exchange, soft power 


In today’s world, humanity is going through a phase of social collapse and ascension like those we have encountered throughout history. While capitalism in the 21st century is collapsing in its globalist imperialist phase, the emerging Asian Civilization paves the way for humanity with publicist principles. In such a period, Yunus Emre’s teaching of love is much needed. This points to the need for revisiting his teaching in today’s light with the aim of producing solutions to countless spiritual problems arisen from Asia’s ascent. 

If there are no heartbeats in your ideas, think again.


The year 1321 was the date of the departure of two giant poets from this world at the two most important points of the Silk Road. Dante Alighieri in Italy and Yunus Emre in Anatolia said goodbye to this problematic world together, after a long and fruitful lives. Both were poets with deep feelings about the meaning of life, what it means to be human, and the afterlife. The year 2021 is the 700th anniversary of their farewell to this world. While the Italian nation celebrates the life of Dante, Turkey is busy with the celebrations of Yunus Emre and the Turkish Language. Playing an important role in bringing these celebrations together, Prof. Giampiero Bellingeri is an important academic who has spent a lifetime on Turkish culture. We hope that this essay, submitted by Prof. Bellingeri at the event organized by Yunus Emre Institute in Rome in 2019, comparing Dante and Yunus Emre will greatly enrich the Yunus Emre special issue of BRIQ. (BRIQ )


Since China put forward the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, the BRI has achieved significant progress, especially in the Middle East. China’s cultural communication with the Middle East is the emotional glue that brings both sides together by building trust and dispelling doubts. Evidence in the statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the communication by the media, the development of Confucius Institutes, and the cooperation between different NGOs, China shows the fact that the BRI is being built jointly with the Middle East. Moreover, the Middle East’s unique geopolitical situation and cultural differences require China’s cultural communication with states in the region to be done with Chinese characteristics. With descriptive case study methodology, this article revolves around these questions: How do China’s cultural communication mechanisms work? Why does China’s cultural communication play an essential role in the Middle East under the BRI? What is its characteristic? To answer these questions, the article is structured in three parts. The first part will outline the role of cultural communication in Chinese diplomacy, based on cultural communication, to jointly build the BRI. The second part will focus on Chinese communication with the Middle East through cooperation related to the pandemic, tourism, Confucius Institutes, and the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. The third part will highlight China’s cultural communication with Chinese characteristics in the Middle East.

Keywords: BRI, Chinese diplomacy, Chinese characteristics, cultural communication, Middle East.