SARAJEVO, Bosnia Herzegovina
Around 6,000 Bosnian children, who are learning the Turkish language, were treated to a feast and a concert at a children's festival in Zenica city of Bosnia Herzegovina Thursday.
The festival has been held in the city for the last six years.
More than 8,000 children at 150 different high schools and primary schools across the country are learning Turkish as part of the "Preferential Turkish" project.
Yunus Emre Institute President Seref Ates addressed children waving Turkish flags at the festival, telling them that there are two dimensions to Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children's Day, which is celebrated every year by the Turkish nation on April 23.
"One of these is children and the second one is liberty. We want freedom for all children of the world.
“This feast was used by [Turkey’s founding father] Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a representative of a lost generation of children and youth in battlefields, not only for Turkish children but also for children of the entire world.
"These flags fly freely in this colorful atmosphere. May these two flags [Turkish and Bosnian] never fall. May the faces of Bosnians and Turks may never fade," said Ates.
Undersecretary of Culture and Tourism Ministry Omer Arısoy said the already strong relationship between the two countries gets a further boost through the Turkish language.
Arisoy added they would continue to support the introduction of Turkish culture and Turkish language in Bosnia.
Students who participated in various competitions at the festival were also given awards.
During the festival, thousands of students from seven cantons of Bosnia shared joyful moments, singing songs and reading poems in Turkish and Bosnian languages.
Bosnia’s famous singer Mirza Selimovic also performed at the festival.
The festival had been organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia, Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry, Embassy of Turkey and Yunus Emre Cultural Institute.
It was also supported by over 100 organizations and companies from Turkey and Bosnia.