By Zuhal Demirci
The “Anadolu Weekend Schools” project, which was established last year by the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), has enabled numerous Turkish youths abroad to remain in touch with the cultural aspects from back home.
Turkey has recently conducted wide-ranging efforts, not only as part of its foreign policy but also in its services to Turkish citizens living abroad.
Currently, 6.5 million Turkish citizens are living abroad, primarily in Europe.
Turkey, through YTB, offers numerous activities for the Turkish citizens residing throughout European countries in order for them to preserve their Turkish identity.
The activities also aim to form active and academically equipped youths in the communities they live in.
Participation in the project is solely volunteer-based.
Many countries like Germany, the Netherlands, China, Greece, Serbia, Ireland and Israel, have established similar types of initiatives in order to strengthen relations between the diaspora and their homeland.
Yet, the Netherlands’ state television NOS and other media outlets have attempted to paint the Turkish "Weekend Schools” projects in a negative light -- namely one particular NOS report that aired on Aug. 10.
However, the Netherlands’ Foundation for Dutch Education Worldwide (NOB), has also been providing similar cultural and educational services to Dutch youths living abroad since the 1980s.
According to an NOB report published in April, 13,430 Dutch and Flemish children received both language and cultural education across 118 countries and 198 schools during the 2017/2018 academic year. Six of the 198 schools are located in Turkey.
Germany, which boasts a diaspora of 14 million worldwide, also has similar programs in 140 schools across 72 countries.
Greece has spent the equivalent of €60 million ($69.1 million) during the 1990s in order for 105,000 Greek youths to practice their mother tongue.
Likewise, China also makes available programs for an estimated 60 million Chinese nationals living abroad.
And the Jewish Agency for Israel "serve[s] as the main link between the Jewish state and Jewish communities everywhere". The agency’s 2018 budget was over $362.5 million.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.