Turkish schools key to success in Africa

Deputy PM Bülent Arınç (Photo: AA)
Deputy PM Bülent Arınç (Photo: AA)

Date posted: December 3, 2010

It is very pleasing to hear that, just as in Uganda, a prime minister mentions Turkish schools out of the blue and these schools have strong ties to the highest profile officials, as well as to civil society groups and even members of minority religions in those countries.

Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Bülent Arınç noted that the Turkish schools that have opened in various parts of Africa have contributed significantly to the development of ties between Turkey and Africa.

“Relations between different peoples are a multi-faceted issue, one can’t see this in terms of just trade or Turkey’s investments,” Arınç said. “There are other factors, such as culture, traditions and cooperation in education. Thank God the best quality education in Uganda is being given by the Turkish Light Academy set up in Kampala 10 years ago. This school teaches all ages, from nursery to high school,” he added. The minister said the Light Academy and its teachers were the pioneers of relations between Turkey and Uganda. “They were the ones who got here first. We stepped off the plane and met the teachers and administrators of these schools. We were their guests and we saw that everyone in this country, from the prime minister to the man on the street, says that these schools provide excellent education and that Turkey has left and indelible mark on this country thanks to these schools.”

Arınç also said that he believed 100 percent that businessmen’s organizations such as the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), as well as civil society involvement, such as the activities of the faith-based Gülen movement — not only in Africa but all over the world, — were contributing significantly to Turkey’s rising foreign policy prospects and the acceleration in the volume of Turkish foreign trade.

“For one thing, there is a very positive atmosphere. Turkish schools, TUSKON and similar organizations are appreciated and trusted and our African counterparts are taking new steps to cooperate with them,” Arınç explained. “For example, it is very pleasing to hear that, just as in Uganda, a prime minister mentions Turkish schools out of the blue and that teachers and administrators of these schools have strong ties to the highest profile officials, as well as to civil society groups and even members of minority religions in those countries. This is exactly how it is in Uganda and other countries. For this reason, we should congratulate these educational efforts that were started with encouragement from the esteemed Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi. This is an important gain for Turkey.

Arınç said the Light Academy is currently teaching 400 students, almost all on a boarding school basis. “Uganda’s colonization ended as recently as 1962, and the country lost millions to a civil war that broke out afterwards. It is not easy to become a trusted institution in such a country. These teachers lead the way for our businessmen. They act as translators for them and even host them in their homes. Since they have already laid the infrastructure, they have created an environment of confidence for politicians and businessmen. I think this is the fundamental secret of the success of our relations.”


Source: Today's Zaman , 03 December 2010

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