The Diplomacy of Language and the Language of Diplomacy

Many descendants of Georgian migrants of the Turkish-Russian cycle of wars of XIX century, who live nowadays in different parts of the Republic of Turkey, still preserve the mother tongue of their ancestors as one of the main treasures inherited from them. That is why it was not a surprise when I witness the growing demand for the Georgian language in Turkey.

Our generation of diplomats at the Embassy are proud of the fact that we have a historic opportunity to make our modest contribution in assisting those communities to promote studying of literary Georgian language on the soil of Turkey. On September 9, 2014, the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey, within the State Program ongoing in the country for so called “Local Languages”, approved 244-hour Program of Georgian Language for V-VIII grade students of secondary schools of Turkey. The Program of Georgian Language was initiated by the founder of Georgian Cultural House of Istanbul, Mr Erdal Küçük and a writer from Ankara, Ms Kevser Ruhi. On October 30, 2014, the Nuruosmaniye Secondary School of Geyve district of Sakarya Region pioneered in establishing of the first ever Georgian language classes (two classes with 20 kids in each), thanks to the efforts of the teacher of that school, Mr Mustafa Kolat. Opening of some more Georgian Language classes are expected in different public schools of Turkey from September 2015 not to mention rapidly growing number of Sunday language schools in Istanbul, Inegol, and Sakarya. Furthermore, the authors of the Program prepared comprehensive Georgian language textbook expected to be approved by the Ministry of National Education of Turkey by September, 2015, with the professional contribution from the Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.

President of Georgia awarded Mr Erdal Küçük and Ms Kevser Ruhi with the Golden Fleece state order and Mr Mustafa Kolat with the state order of Dignity for their exceptional contribution in promoting academic study of the Georgian language in Turkish public schools. The state orders were personally granted to nominees by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, HE Ms Tamar Beruchashvili during her visit in Ankara at the Embassy of Georgia in the presence of the heads of Diplomatic Missions accredited to Ankara, on December 9, 2014.

As for the Universities, the course of Georgian Language and Literature are taught by the Georgian Professors at the Kars University (visited by the President of Georgia on March 17, 2015), the Düzce University (visited twice by the State Minister for Diaspora Issues of Georgia in 2015), and the Ardahan University; the next would be the Rize University. Starting from 2015 the Medieval Georgian Art History is taught at one of the leading Bilkent University of Ankara. More than 40 people participated in the State Exams in Georgian as "Foreign Language", held in Ankara in 2015. On July 1-3, 2015 the Rectors of Ankara and Tbilisi State Universities agreed in Ankara to exchange the students studying, inter alia, Georgian and Turkish languages within the frames of joint Summer School to be established from 2016.

It is highly appreciated that the annual Georgian language conference  started 2014 (“Deda Ena”) is held the same day as whole Georgia celebrates the Day of the Georgian Language, on April 14. The same communities gather in thousands at recently established annual open air festival to celebrate the National Day of Georgia (May 26) on the last Sunday of May. Yet another manifestation of exceptionally good relationship between the two neighbouring nations!