A public agency focused on developing relations with communities with historical ties to Turkey, the Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) is helping to improve ties with Serbia. Through educational, social, cultural and economic projects, the Presidency has enhanced bilateral ties of two countries whose histories have been intertwined since Ottoman times.
The YTB already has an expanding presence in the Balkans, from Kosovo to Albania, and its education activities figure prominently in Serbia. Through its Türkiye Scholarships, the agency offers university education in Turkey for a large number of students in Serbia. Since 2012, the Presidency was provider of Türkiye Scholarships for 407 students from Serbia.
The Presidency’s Balkan Youth School project, established to improve social, cultural and academic development of related communities in the Balkans, was recently introduced in Serbia’s Sandzak region. Hundreds of students in the region, which is heavily populated by ethnic Bosniaks, benefited from the project that provided educational classes on history, culture, religion, workshops, seminars and conferences. Also in Sandzak, the YTB was behind a project to create an intangible cultural inventory of Bosniaks in a bid to convey the ethnic and regional identity of the community to future generations and preserve cultural values. The inventory work aims to prepare a database after field studies and literary research by experts on site, to the benefit of future researchers.
In the Serbian capital Belgrade, the YTB prepared an anthology on the centenary of the establishment of the Turkology department at Belgrade University, with the assistance of professor Mirjana Teodosijevic, compiling scientific studies, publications, photos and other material related to the history of the department.
Most recently, the YTB arranged a trip for 44 students learning Turkish at the Novi Pazar Turkish Culture Center in the eponymous Serbian city. The students were given a tour of Turkey between June 30 and July 7. The center serves as the main Turkish language education spot in Novi Pazar for locals.
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