The interest in learning the Chinese language is increasingly growing among the Turkish people, who want to know more about China, do business with China, or simply visit China for sightseeing in the post-pandemic era.
ISTANBUL, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- In a classroom of the Turkish-Chinese Cultural Association in Istanbul, the students, including business people, repeated aloud the Chinese words that their teacher wrote on the board, before writing them down in their notebooks.
Firat Ozturk, a third-year student at the History Department of Istanbul Medeniyet University, recently joined the courses to be prepared for an upcoming exam to get a scholarship in China.
"China possesses valuable historical records, and I want to scrutinize these documents and have my master's degree there," Ozturk said.
The courses on the Chinese language, which had gone online for more than a year due to the pandemic, have recently become face-to-face under strict measures against COVID-19.
"The interest in our courses skyrocketed, reaching a limit that we couldn't even accept more students," Mustafa Karsli, deputy director of the association, told Xinhua about the Turkish people's ever-growing appetite to learn Chinese.
Usually, the annual number of students of the association was 300, but in this new academic year, it went up to 1,200.
After starting Chinese lessons at his university, Ozturk's interest in the language and Chinese culture has grown considerably.
"By learning this language, I am getting closer to Chinese culture," Ozturk said.
Thanks to the cultural activities organized by the association, Ozturk can now fluently play Go, an ancient board game invented in China, and is getting professional in Chinese martial arts.
Business persons who attend the classes intend to establish closer contact with their Chinese colleagues and get in-depth knowledge about China's culture.
Fulya Celen, 27, is an open sea captain of giant tankers transporting crude oil between Turkey and China for the last two years.
She recently decided to learn Chinese to better communicate with her Chinese colleagues and improve social interactions with them at a higher level after the pandemic.
She believed that the interest in China and the Chinese language is increasingly growing among Turkish people.
"People who know the language will come to the fore after the pandemic, and they will be luckier than those latecomers," she stressed.
Celen wants to visit Zhanjiang, a port city in south China's Guangdong Province, after the pandemic, because she has been there several times but has never had the opportunity to get off the ship due to the pandemic.
"We always looked through binoculars to see the streets of this beautiful city and its nice-looking buildings," she said, adding that she wants to enjoy the scenes of the city freely after the pandemic.
For Arda Durmaz, an Istanbul-based businessman, Turkey's relations with China will grow exponentially as Turkish business people would be more proactive in establishing ties with Chinese companies after the pandemic.
Doing business for the last several years with China, Durmaz is getting intensive Chinese courses at the association to keep his Chinese alive.