It was only a matter of time before Turkey introduced Chinese as an elective language course for public school students, as the two countries have significantly improved ties. An Education Ministry official announced that they plan to include it in the curriculum for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the next school year.
Dr. Cem Gençoğlu, who heads the Basic Education department of the ministry, told Anadolu Agency that they are in a significant stage for Chinese language education and would soon prepare the books for language education. "We have instructors from select universities in Turkey and we think we will be able to launch classes as early as next school year," he said.
Chinese will be the 10th elective language course for public school students, from Laz - commonly spoken in Turkey's north - to the language of neighboring Georgia as well as Albanian and Bosnian. "Foreign language education should not be confined to European languages. Our ministry also included Korean in its plans for new language courses," he said.
Although both countries maintained somewhat low-profile ties for decades, they recently stepped up cooperation with deals as part of China's ambitious One Belt One Road project. Ties are largely linked to economic partnerships, but both countries also aim to improve cultural ties on the side.