TURKEY | Language diplomacy plays a fresh cultural tune in Turkey’s current efforts to promote its cultural centers and language programs as a diplomatic competitor.
The beneficiary? The Yunus Emre Institutes, which were established in 2007. This international culture and education organization has 42 cultural centers around the world. They have been active since 2009 in 34 countries. These culture centers have two roles: (1) to teach Turkish abroad and (2) to promote Turkish culture and arts.
This past August, Yunus Emre Institute hosted 500 foreign students from 38 different countries in various cities of Turkey as part of its sixth Turkish Language Summer school. The occasion was “The Voice of 1000″ Years: Turkish Language Festival” in Istanbul.
The festival, which included various dance, music and theatrical performances by the students who learned Turkish at the summer school, was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ministers and other diplomatic guests from Turkey and abroad.
The Turkish Language Summer School currently hosts around 500 attendees from 38 countries in various cities of Turkey, who are visiting Turkey to learn Turkish.
In an interview for Daily Sabah, Yunus Emre Institute’s Cultural Centres Coordinator, Associate Professor Mustafa Balcı, emphasized the importance of the language programs for their role in Turkey’s increased “soft-power” throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East and the Balkans.
“In a way, these centers have been given a role in carrying Turkey’s cultural diplomacy,” Balcı said.
Moreover, Balcı told Daily Sabah, said that there has been a high demand for language courses and people have been curious about the Turkish culture in recent years, as it has been a rising power in its region.
“Yunus Emre Institute’s language programs help many of the students to re-establish ties their relatives who speak Turkish, find jobs, and add a new color to their lives,” Balcı also said.
Turkish Language Summer School aims to acquaint its students withTurkish culture and arts, in addition to improving their Turkish language skills.
The students who participated in the Turkish Language Summer School have expressed their fascination with Turkey and said that they are glad they could continue their Turkish language journey in Turkey which they started in their home countries.
“The Voice of 1000 Years: Turkish Language Festival,” was held under the auspices of Presidency of Turkey, Prime Ministry of Republic of Turkey, Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), Prime Ministry of Republic of Turkey Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, among other public and private establishment.