By Deji Abdulwahab
Turkish First Lady Emine Erdoğan on Wednesday inaugurated Yunus Emre Enstitusu, a Turkish Cultural Centre, to strengthen the cultural ties between Turkey and Nigeria.
Erdoğan, who declared the centre open in Abuja, said that it would further promote cultural interaction and bridge cultural gap between Turkish and Nigerian people.
“ The meeting of this memoir with the opening of our Yunus Emre Cultural Centre was also very meaningful. I believe it explains how cultural interaction builds bridges between people.
“Africa is a chest containing all the treasures of the world.
“It is the home of over two thousand different language and ethnic communities. It is a huge potential with a population of over one billion.’’
The First Lady who described Africa as the rising star of the 21st century, said that Turkish government stands in solidarity with the continent so that it gets to the place it deserves.
“The increase in the number of our Embassies in the African Continent is an expression of the deepening of our relations.
“While we had only 12 embassies in Africa in 2002, today we have 43 embassies. In the coming period, we aim to increase this number to 49, hopefully.
“The number of African Embassies in Ankara, which was 10 in 2008, increased to 37 in 2021.
“As you know, Turkish Airlines is also adding new routes to its flights to Africa. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, flights were organised to 60 destinations in 40 countries on the Continent.
“With the lifting of travel bans, the number of our flights increases and we meet again at many points,’’ she said.
According to her, our friendship with Africa has also inspired many beautiful projects that I patronise.
“In 2016, we established the African Handicrafts Market and Culture House in Ankara.
”Thanks to this centre, we have created a fair market where African women can get the full value of their labour.”
“The African Food Culture and African Proverbs books that we brought to the literature were added to the library shelves as a result of our cultural rapprochement.’’
The First Lady said that the development and reconstruction of the African continent imperative for the common future of the world.
Prof. Seref Ates, Head of Yunus Emre Institute, described the institute as the cultural ambassador of Turkey in all corners of the world.
“Today, we are opening the 64th Yunus Emre Institute in the world and the ninth in Africa.
“This Institute will further strengthen the cultural ties of the historical and deep-rooted relations between Turkey and Nigeria and will breathe new life into the brotherhood between Turkey and Nigeria.
“The Institute will be the most right and primary address for those who want to learn Turkish in Nigeria and get to know Turkey and Turkish culture closely,’’ Ates said.
He said that the institute would implement different programs in order to increase the relations and cooperation between Turkish and Nigerian universities.
According to him, it will lay the groundwork for scientific cooperation, which is vital for the development of both countries.
“The institute will work in active cooperation with many institutions/organisations in Turkey and Nigeria.
“It will also serve as the most important gateway for Turkey to Nigeria and Nigeria to Turkey, not only in the field of teaching Turkish but also in all fields of culture.
“Our Institute will play a leading role in reinforcing the friendship between the two countries and eliminating misconceptions and prejudices through all these efforts,’’ he said. (NAN)