The notion of culture has loomed large in discourses and polemics regarding European integration and immigration in the European framework. While culture, as in fundamental cultural difference, is identified as the source of contemporary political quandaries, its incarnation as intercultural dialogue is conceived as their solution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the arts settings of Berlin and Istanbul, this article elucidates how this type of "culture talk" intersects with recent cultural policy formations in the European Union and the national arenas of Germany and Turkey. Much of the political productivity of culture arises from a constant slippage between the different, often contradictory, meanings accorded to the culture-concept. This extension of the "rhetoric of culture" engenders a shift from a governance of culture to one through culture by relaying an array of pressing political concerns from the realm of social and economic policy to that of culture in the sense of artistic expression.