Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on Monday exchanged congratulatory messages on the opening of the \"2012 China Culture Year\" in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Under an agreement between the two sides, the two countries will host culture years for each other this year and next year. In his message, the Chinese president said the Chinese and Turkish peoples have a long history of friendship. Remarkable progress has been made in the development of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations 40 years ago, Hu said. Mutual political trust has been growing and cooperation in various fields expanding steadily, he said. The upgrade of the China-Turkey relationship to a strategic partnership last year has opened broader prospects for the development of relations between the two countries, Hu said. The China Culture Year in Turkey will introduce to the Turkish people China\'s long history, its splendid culture and its development achievements in rich and colorful forms. The Chinese people will also attach great importance to and show great enthusiasm for the Turkey Culture Year in China, the Chinese president stressed. Closer people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Turkey will play a positive role in helping maintaining the diversification of cultures in the world, promoting dialogue among different civilizations and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, Hu said. Gul said friendly and cooperative relations between Turkey and China in various fields have been developing rapidly. The China Culture Year in Turkey and the Turkey Culture Year in China are important occasions for enhancing friendly feelings between the two peoples, Gul said. That will also contribute to the further development of bilateral ties, Gul added. Hosting culture years for each other was part of the consensus reached by Chinese and Turkish leaders on Oct. 8 last year, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit to Turkey. Under the agreement, Turkey will host the China Culture Year in 2012, and China will host the Turkey Culture Year in 2013.