It appears that the friction within Turkey has also spread to the language learning arena.
The Turkish Government has taken steps to try to prevent the “Turkish Language Olympiad” taking place. The event was already banned in Turkey so ever since 2014 it has been held in various other countries including Ethiopia and Nigeria. Although the event is mainly devoted to singing, dancing and poetry recital, the event is alleged to be influenced by the Gulenist movements. Thus the Turkish Government is claiming, in the light of the 2016 attempted coup the event is now considered to be a direct threat for “conducting propaganda abroad”.
In many areas of the world, Turkish can only be learnt via schools which are openly supported or funded by Gulenist institutions. Incidentally, such schools are also in direct competition to the new and rapidly growing Yunus Emre Institute – the cultural arm of the Turkish Government which aims to provide Turkish language lessons and cultural events across the world. Since the attempted coup – which Turkey claims Gülen was responsible for – the cultural and language learning arena have also become an important battleground in public relations – or more appropriately termed, “winning hearts and minds”.
Although this doesn’t impact our project directly, it’s important to note that this project – HandsOnTurkish – has no connections with any side whatsoever.
Our intention and mission has been to create meaningful, up-to-date and interactive Turkish language learning materials. We have also strived to spark an interest in the Turkish language and culture (since the two are connected).
We hope that you continue to enjoy learning Turkish!