The Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) brought the Turkish brand of friendship, charity and culture to the wider masses in 2021 with its programs for the Turkish diaspora and people across the globe. “We are striving to be with our citizens wherever they are in the world and reach out to people. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we pursued valuable efforts for our citizens abroad and people whose heart beats for Turkey and see our country as their hope,” YTB President Abdullah Eren said in a written statement on Thursday.
The YTB provided educational support for young members of the Turkish diaspora, including grants in six different fields and organized story, essay and poetry competitions to polish their Turkish language skills. It also organized a media awards competition for members of the diaspora interested in media and communications. In seven countries, it set up 32 book clubs to facilitate the diaspora’s access to Turkish language resources. 2021 was also the 60th anniversary of the migration of Turkish “guest workers” to Germany, and the YTB organized several events to mark the anniversary of the migration that laid the foundation of a large Turkish diaspora in Germany. Among the events were a short film festival, theater plays and conferences.
It also ran several projects to boost ties with the Turkic world, including the Eurasia Youth School, which hosted youth from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for 11 weeks for education in several fields and a training program for journalists from countries with close ties with Turkey. It sponsored a Turkic world film festival, international symposiums and a summer camp for Belarussian students, as well as the training of Turkish-Uzbek language interpreters. It supplied books on Turkish history and culture to universities and libraries in Uzbekistan and prepared children’s books for Gagauzian children.
In the Middle East, the YTB organized events for the Iraqi Turkmen community and a panel on the Palestinian cause, while the presidency joined forces with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and Anadolu Agency (AA) for training journalists from seven Middle Eastern and eight African countries. Through its Anatolian Culture Center set up in Syria’s al-Bab, the YTB offered courses on the Turkish and English languages, literacy, acting, handcrafts, media, painting and music. It also delivered food aid to needy families living in Syria’s north.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the YTB organized cybersecurity training courses. It also launched language classes for the Uyghur community in Turkey and Germany. In the Balkans, it launched the Balkan Youth School for educating hundreds from eight countries in the region. Students attending the school came together at the Balkan Youth Summit hosted by the YTB in Istanbul. It also hosted online training programs for young prospective writers from the Balkan countries.
The presidency’s flagship program was again the Turkey Scholarships, which has turned the country into an education hub for international students over the years. This year, it broke records with 165,500 applications from 178 countries. The YTB also organized alumni reunion programs in dozens of countries for graduates of Turkish universities.