Interest in Turkish, a language only spoken by some 78 million people, has increased recently, thanks to efforts by the government and a demand fueled by Turkey's rising clout in the international community. As the country has seen a drive to boost its international standing in politics, economy and other areas under the past decade of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) rule, the popularity of the Turkish language has increased as well. Turkish TV series broadcast across the globe, from South America to Africa and Middle East, have further contributed to interest in learning Turkish.
A language relatively easy to learn, with language classes run by state-run agencies operating abroad, have enrolled thousands of students every year. Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB); together with the Yunus Emre Institute, named after famous mystic and poet, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), overseeing refugees in the country, each offers language classes.
Since 2009, the Yunus Emre Institute, through its cultural centers where language classes are located, has taught Turkish to 45,000 people. The cultural centers serve in 36 countries and act as venues to promote Turkish culture, in cities ranging from Kabul in Afghanistan to Bucharest in Romania.
The YTB offers scholarships to 5,000 students from around the world every year, as well as free Turkish language education. The agency also offers Turkish education for civil servants and academics under the KATİP project, in which bureaucrats, academics and diplomats from other countries can enrol.
The Diyanet Foundation, which is associated with Turkey's religious authority, is contributing to efforts to boost Turkish learning among foreigners. It also offers free education for hundreds of foreign theology students studying in Turkey.
State-run Turkish schools abroad also provide elective Turkish lessons, while AFAD's refugee camps for displaced Syrians offer Turkish classes to young Syrians.