By Muhammet Tarhan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s culture institute aims to open 10 new centers in Africa next year as the country prioritizes developing "humanitarian" and "trust-driven" ties with African countries, the head of Yunus Emre Institute said.
Seref Ates told Anadolu Agency that the institute serves like a "cultural ambassador" abroad, helping Turkey establish humanitarian ties with the world.
Ates' remarks came ahead of the 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit that will be held in Istanbul on Dec. 16-18.
The institute currently has 10 centers in Africa, Ates said, adding that this number is below their target.
"We need to open centers in at least 20-25 more countries out of 54 in Africa because we've been distant from the African continent and African countries for decades," he said.
Noting that they are establishing "humanitarian ties" with all African people, Ates said: "We are not working on (creating) a perception about Turkey here (in Africa) but on building trust regarding Turkey. That is why we're not displaying a fictionalized picture of Turkey.
"In African countries, we are introducing Turkey's geographical features, economic potential, especially the cultural sensitivity and values of the Turkish people."
Citing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's frequent visits to the African continent as "inspirational," Ates said they are working to open a center within a university in Angola following Erdogan's recent visit.
Ates also recalled inaugurating a fresh cultural center in Nigeria as well as Rwanda's capital Kigali.
Currently, in our Kigali center alone, several hundred people are learning Turkish in-person, he stressed.
On the 2022 goals of the institute, Ates said they will intensify their activities in Africa after the upcoming Istanbul summit.
"Our efforts in African are ongoing. We continue to work with the relevant ministries, as our target is to open 10 more cultural centers in 2022, first in Tanzania," he added.
Since its establishment in 2009, the institute has provided Turkish language classes to more than 99,000 people in at least 45 countries.
Named after the influential poet Yunus Emre, the institute now has over 63 cultural centers around the world offering artistic, social, and scientific programs.
*Writing by Merve Aydogan