HALL OF SHAME AWARD GOES TO THE GULEN CHARTER SCHOOLS
Pelican Education dba Cosmos Foundation dba Abramson Science and Technology
The Gulen Charter Schools in Louisana
Nalan Kızıltan, who is an Assistant Proffessor at the University of Salento, told Today’s Zaman: “The number of students has doubled since they discovered the Turkish language was written in the Latin alphabet.”
In a southern Italian high school, many students have deemed the introduction of Turkish classes as an effort in vain because of the language's supposed difficulty due to what they mistakenly thought was caused by the use of the Arabic alphabet.
Apparently Asian and Middle Eastern languages are thought to draw in less interest compared to western European Languages. Still there have been a number of students who have wanted to learn Turkish and a campaign promoting the language doubled the number of those interested in Turkish. "The number of students has doubled since they discovered that Turkish is written in the Latin alphabet," Assistant Professor Nalan Kızıltan told Today's Zaman.
Kızıltan, a linguist, was assigned by the Turkish Embassy in Rome to give lectures in the department of Turkology at the University of Salento, Lecce, as part of an intercultural dialogue program. Her journey in Italy took her to Aristosseno High School in Taranto, two hours by car from Lecce, when she and the dean of the university's department of foreign languages and literatures decided to run a joint program with the school for students to take part in the Turkish Olympiads. The project was helped set up by one of Kızıltan's students, Severine Mafrica, also a teacher at the high school.
"I went to their school once a week to conduct a two-hour Turkish class in March and we launched the project. We made an announcement at the school and asked who would like to learn Turkish. We told them about the success the students had had the previous year [at the Olympiads], what the previous participants gained, and the contribution they would make to their country and Turkey if they attended the Turkish Olympiads. Several high school students in the 12-19 age group registered to join the classes," she explained, adding: “As part of the program, a language laboratory was given to them and they began studying Turkish. The first month passed with phonetic exercises as several sounds in Turkish do not exist in the Italian language. The students loved Turkish. Now you cannot differentiate their accents from a native Turk.”
Later the group continued by studying Turkish grammar. During their studies, one thing that students told Professor Kızıltan caught her attention. "They told me when they don't feel good, they feel the need to read something in Turkish and this comforted them," she said, adding, “This means Turkish has a rhythm, a beauty to touch the hearts of children; it is attractive." She thinks the words of her students are important to understand the psychology of children.
Olympiads about winning people over
Five students were selected from Aristosseno High School by an Italian committee to represent the country at the Turkish Olympiads. They were divided into different groups according to their talent. Among Kızıltan's students, those who were not selected by the Italian committee were still invited to Turkey as guest students by the organizers. "These Olympiads are not only competitions. They are there to win people over," the professor said.
Kızıltan also said the popularity of Asian and Middle Eastern languages has increased and that she had taught 106 students Turkish at the university in Lecce, and furthermore claimed that it made her proud that Italy is taking part in the Turkish Olympiads. While noting that the Italian group came to Turkey with the support of the Turkish Embassy, Kızıltan explained that the countries that are not represented at the Olympiads must also be invited. "It would contribute to the Turkish language if all embassies paid attention to the Turkish Olympiads and developed projects to do with it," she said, thanking the Turkish Embassy in Rome, which specifically supported Kızıltan's contribution to the Olympiads.
TUSKON President Rızanur Meral
The president of one of Turkey's leading business associations has said Turkish-Chilean trade volume has the potential to more than double and reach $1 billion in the next three years.
Speaking at “Chile-Turkey Free Trade Agreement: Opportunities for Bilateral Economic and Commercial Relations,” a seminar organized in İstanbul on Tuesday, Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) President Rızanur Meral underlined what he called a “substantial but little used” economic cooperation potential between one of the Muslim world's most populous nations and this key Latin America country.
A free trade agreement (FTA) between Turkey and Chile was signed in 2009 and came into force on March 1 this year. It became the latest in a number of FTAs Turkey has with 14 countries, including with members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a free trade organization of four non-EU member states located in Europe. Chile, on the other hand, has FTAs with 58 nations around the world.
Turkey is the world's 16th largest economy and is set to overtake some nations currently ranking in higher positions on the list in the mid-term, based on the pace of growth that its gross domestic product (GDP) has shown in the past decade. Between 2003 and 2010, Turkey's economy grew by over 5 percent and in 2010 it was the third fastest growing country worldwide after China and Argentina, with a notable growth rate of 8.9 percent. This year economic growth is not expected to remain below 5 percent despite a set of measures the government and the Central Bank of Turkey as well as the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) took to slow it down. Chile, likewise, has also shown strong economic growth performance in the past decade. With its population of 17 million and a GDP of some $258 billion last year, it has become increasingly more important and visible among Latin American nations. In 2010, bilateral trade between Turkey and Chile was recorded at almost $400 million, more than three quarters of it being Chilean exports to Turkey. “That Turkish-Chilean trade and cooperation between the two countries' businesses was so little relative to the potential between them, we think, is because the two countries have very little knowledge of each other. If we can bring trusted businessmen together and work carefully on building our commercial relations from now on, we believe that our bilateral trade will become more than twice last year's figure. At TUSKON we believe in this potential and that Turkish and Chilean businessmen can successfully cooperate in so many areas,” Meral said. He added that there is particularly substantial potential that Turkish entrepreneurs can take advantage of in Chile in areas such as agriculture, the agricultural industry, textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, construction, fisheries and tourism.
At Tuesday's seminar, Chilean Vice Minister of Agriculture Alvora Cruzat also addressed participating businesspeople and bureaucrats from both countries. He said Turkey will serve an important role for Chile's economic presence in the Middle East and elsewhere. “Turkey is now a gateway through which we can make an overture particularly in the Middle Eastern and Asian food sectors. He said his government is aiming to make Chile one of the top 10 exporters of food worldwide in the mid-term.
Also speaking at Tuesday's gathering was Chilean Ambassador to Turkey Luis Palma Castillo. He emphasized that Turkish-Chilean relations take their roots from early years of the Republic of Turkey. Chile was the first South American nation to recognize Turkey's independence in the early 1920s.