Sunday, December 06, 2009
This is an interesting article that might explain some of Turkey's recent switch towards the east as opposed to Europe. Their government still intends to join the EU, but on a more primal level it looks like they simply feel more comfortable with other countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, and this might explain why - it simply feels good to be a big fish in a smaller pond, where a single statement by an elected official can have such an effect.
First the video of what Erdoğan said in Davos to provide some background:
And now what the article says:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "one minute" appearance in Davos has increased interest in the Turkish language among the 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon in 19 refugee camps. Because of this interest the Istanbul Cultural Centre in Sidon has begun work on opening a Turkish language course.
The director of the cultural centre in Sidon Ahmet, El Ahmet, says that the institution carries out education in such areas as secretary work, English, accounting, computing and administration, and that they will be reinforced in 2010, with Turkish courses as well if the funds can be found. He also said that "I'm also a Palestinian, and there are Palestinians living here, making up 70% of the people in our courses...after Erdoğan spoke out so strongly for the Palestinian cause there was an increase in interest in the Turkish language."
That's only part of the article but the rest of it is just a repetition of the same, about how strongly Palestinians felt about Erdoğan's statement. Unfortunately there are no concrete numbers in the article.