Ties between Pakistan and Turkiye are set to reach new heights as public schools in the country's largest province Punjab may soon offer Turkish language courses.
Ulas Ertas, director of the Yunus Emre Institute in Lahore, shared the latest information ahead of Turkish Language Day, which is being celebrated on Friday. This year, Turkiye and the world will mark the 745th anniversary of the Turkish language.
In 1277, the pre-Ottoman ruler Mehmet I of Karaman, in what is now central Turkey, declared Turkish the official language of the Karamanid dynasty. Turkish is now the official language in Turkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and is spoken as the mother tongue by millions of people in numerous countries, in particular former territories of the Ottoman Empire.
“Pakistan and Turkiye have heart-to-heart relations," Ertas told Anadolu Agency.
“I joined this center in 2018, and in just four years, more than 1,000 students have completed different levels of Turkish language courses.”
He added: "Along with in-person classes, we are offering online lessons as well."
The Yunus Emre Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 to promote Turkish culture, language, and arts across the world. It has expanded to 66 countries, signed agreements with more than 400 universities, and provided 3.5 million Turkish language diplomas worldwide.
In Pakistan, it has three chapters – in Karachi, Lahore, and the capital Islamabad – and is offering all six levels – A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2 – with three Turkish teachers and six locals who passed the top-level C2 exam.
“Data shows that with each passing year, people are willing to learn Turkish more and more, and with the popularity of the Turkish television series Dirilis: Ertugrul (Resurrection: Ertugrul), many students are already familiar with the language," Ertas said, referring to a historical Turkish TV drama that has won fans worldwide.
Expanding the network in Pakistan
The institute has signed agreements with five local universities – the University of Punjab, National University of Modern Languages in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi; University of Jammu & Kashmir, GIFT University in Gujranwala, and University of Management & Technology – as well as the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). In the next phase, public schools in Punjab will offer Turkish language courses.
"We are already in talks with the government to start the language course in public schools. The first phase will start in Lahore," said Ertas.
"We even have Turkish nationals who are teaching the language here in Pakistan," he said, adding that recently 17 businessmen associated with the Lahore chamber completed A1.
Ertas said that besides the modern Turkish tongue, courses in archery, calligraphy, water painting as well as Ottoman Turkish, the old Turkish script, are also offered by the institute.
A new tongue opens new doors
In the current session, along with students and professionals, there is an entire family that is learning the language, as they are planning to move to Turkiye for good.
Dr. Nazia Amjad, 48, a physician, attends classes in Lahore with her daughter and two sons.
"At my age, learning anything new is a difficult task, but I like the way they teach here, and despite being an irregular student, I have already learned the basics," she told Anadolu Agency.
Her daughter got a scholarship in Turkiye, while the sons are still trying.
"My daughter is a doctor of physiotherapy and she got the scholarship," she explained. "We are hopeful as a family that we all will get some good opportunities in our related fields, and this language certificate will help us to get through many barriers."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.