By Ali Murat Alhas and Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s top broadcasting authority will hold its 11th international communication workshop with a view to developing organic ties among foreign students studying in Turkish universities.
Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) has been holding “Communication with the Future Workshop” since 2009 and the upcoming workshop will be held on April 24-27 in the southeastern cities of Sanliurfa and Gaziantep.
Arif Firtina, a member of the council, said the broadcasting authority is capable of conducting public diplomacy in social and cultural fields, hence it is organizing the workshop on an annual basis.
"The aim of our workshop is that we bring together [foreign] students, studying in communication departments. We usually focus on the students affiliated with Turkic World and related communities," he said.
"We mostly work with undergraduate students, however, master and PhD level students are also invited sometimes," he said.
Firtina went on to say that the students would become a bridge between Turkey and their own nations after their graduation from Turkish universities, and they would have stronger and close relations with Turkey.
"Over the course of the past ten years, we have had a total of 570 participants, we view our workshop as a national duty," he said, adding this year’s workshop would be attended by some 47 foreign students.
He said the reason to organize this year’s workshop under the theme "Communication Tools Amid Struggle For Independence" was that 2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Turkish independence war.
- 'National unity against occupants'
Firtina underlined that the use of communication tools was of huge importance, especially when a nation was fighting for its independence.
He stressed that creating a "national unity against occupants" and informing international communities about the "illegalities happening in the occupied country" could be achieved through correct mass communication.
He praised Anadolu Agency for its role in the Turkish national struggle, where it provided Turkish people with correct information about activities of occupation forces within the country despite limited means and contributed to improving the national identity.
Anadolu Agency was founded on April 6, 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- the founding father of Turkish Republic -- to make the country heard by the international communities and inform Turkish citizens in a correct manner.
Noting that the workshops were organized abroad as well, Firtina went on to say that foreign students were coming from various countries such as North Macedonia, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, as well as with Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan.
He added that the participants of the workshop would have a tour around Gobeklitepe archaeological site -- the world's oldest temple located in Sanliurfa city -- to boost the cultural aspect of the workshop.
He said the workshop would be held at Hasan Kalyoncu University in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
Turkey declared 2019 as "the Year of Gobeklitepe" in honor of the 12,000-year-old temple, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2018.
The shareholders of the workshop will be Anadolu Agency, Turkish Broadcaster TRT, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), according to Firtina.