Turkey’s Yunus Emre Institute is preparing to open a cultural center in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, in an effort to promote Turkish culture and language in the country.
The center, which will open in Abuja, will offer Turkish language teaching to Nigerians and will introduce Turkey and its culture to the country where the institute has operated since 2018.
Macit Koç, head of the institute’s branch in Nigeria, said they have been active in Africa for several years and want a permanent place in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in effective activities. Koç told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they started projects in Gambia, Senegal and Rwanda and worked in countries either through the centers they had opened or by setting up university offices. “We decided to open an independent center in Nigeria because of the country’s importance on the continent,” he said.
Koç noted that their main purpose was to establish a dialogue between the cultures of the two countries. Nigeria is home to more than 500 languages and more than 80 ethnic groups. We want to be part of Nigerian culture. We will organize events to promote Turkish cuisine and coffee, but we want to organize a Nigerian version of these events (with elements of Nigerian culture), he says.
Turkish language teaching has gained traction around the world due to increased interest in the language, thanks to Turkey’s public diplomacy efforts and the growing popularity of Turkish television series around the world. The institute functions as a flagship body for Turkish education abroad. Koç said that Turkey now hosted a large number of African young people attending university and that they wanted to both contribute to the education of these students and teach Turkish to everyone else interested in the language, “from children to housewives” in the African country. . The institute already offers Turkish lessons in Nigeria but in online form due to measures against the coronavirus pandemic. It plans to launch personal classes soon.