As a sign of the warm Turkey-China relationships, the former is planning to open its first cultural and language center, namely the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE), in China.
Abdülkadir Emin Önen, the Turkish Ambassador in China, announced that the move follows a 2017 deal between the two countries. He said that their efforts shortened the procedure to "only a few months" which normally would have taken up to five years. Chinese authorities have given the green light to the opening of the institute.
The institute, named after the celebrated Turkish poet Yunus Emre, who lived from 1238 to 1320, has taught Turkish to thousands of people abroad and reached out to many more through Turkish cultural activities, since its foundation in 2009. A flagship organization promoting Turkish culture and language abroad, the institute has 54 offices in 42 countries.
In a tweet, Ambassador Önen said that the two countries were working to improve cultural ties and needed "venues" for the exchange of Turkish and Chinese language, culture, literature and history.
"Turkey hosts the Confucius Institute but had no such institute in China," he said, in reference to the non-profit organization which serves as a Chinese counterpart of the Yunus Emre Institute.
China's pursuit of boosting its standing as a global power and Turkey's increasing role as a strong regional actor has moved the two closer in recent years. Turkey is viewed as an important partner in China's ambitious Belt and Road project that focuses on increased economic ties with over 60 countries.
In the past five years, bilateral trade has sharply risen, as well as interest in China for Turkish culture and language and vice versa. Along with the Confucius Institute, Turkish universities offering Chinese language classes have also seen a rising demand.
Turkey, meanwhile, has become a favorite destination for Chinese tourists. Popular Chinese singer Xiao Zhang's song "I want to bring you to romantic Turkey," has been partially credited for the increasing number of Chinese interest in Turkey.
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