The efforts of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) municipalities and districts to ensure that the Turkish Olympiads were not held in Turkey this year led to some strong reaction. Former Foreign Minister Yaşar Yakış, also one of the founders of the AK Party, expressed his sorrow about the obstacles that were deliberately manufactured to hinder the organization of the event.
Sevgi Akarçeşme* Even for perpetual pessimists, it was impossible not to hope for a world where peaceful coexistence can exist while watching the finale of the 12th Language and Culture Festival, previously known as the Turkish Olympiads, in Germany. It naturally sounds odd that the Turkish Olympiads took place in Germany. But some are familiar […]
A message from well-known Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen who inspired the Hizmet Movement was also recited at the ceremony. “At a time when rage, hatred and war prevail in different places of the world, some people see path to science, love and peace as far away. However, as it is said in a Japanese proverb ‘If you have a good friend with you, no way is far to you’, said the message. Gülen also expressed his special thanks to German people for hosting the festival.
Indeed, if analyzed from a political science perspective, it can be said that prestigious events like the International Language and Culture Festival play key roles in diplomatic relations with foreign countries and they can be evaluated as an instrument of “soft power” — which is significant in contemporary world politics. In addition, such events undermine the separatist versions of nationalist ideologies and pave the way for the weakening of “negative nationalism.”
The final leg of the 12th International Language and Culture Festival will be held in the Romanian capital of Bucharest on June 15-16. The event, formerly called the Turkish Olympiads, is organized by the International Turkish Association (TÜRKÇEDER).
The International Turkish Education Association’s (TÜRKÇEDER) Language and Culture Festival, which brought together 95 students from 27 countries under the motto “Hearts United,” was held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa over the weekend.
Turkey’s major assets in terms of successful diplomacy and soft-power policy included Turkish schools opened by the Hizmet movement all around the world; the International Turkish Language Olympiads organized by the same group; business associations within and outside the borders of Turkey; intercultural and interfaith dialogue societies; foreign language publications of Turkish society; Turkish hospitals in several countries; and Turkish international humanitarian aid organizations.
Though we typically only witness the Turkey leg of the Turkish Olympiad, held as a part of the International Turkish Education Association’s (TÜRKÇEDER) Language and Culture Festival, the fact is that excitement over this event similarly takes place in participating countries every year as well.
Many countries that are home to Turkish schools have been holding language and culture festivals this month to select the students who will compete in the 12th Turkish Olympiads in June, with one such event recently being held in the US state of Virginia.
The government’s attempts to shut down Turkish schools abroad which are affiliated with the Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, have been severely criticized by opposition members and diplomats.