Ethiopian students keen on learning Turkish.

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian youth are showing great interest in a Turkish studies project launched by the Yunus Emre Institute and there is huge demand for additional courses.

Three major learning institutions — Addis Ababa, Wollo and Mekelle universities — have been taking part in the project since March, teaching Turkish to 900 Ethiopian students, and there are plans to extend it due to strong demand.

Emine Ciftci, who works as a lecturer at Wollo University, told an Anadolu Agency correspondent that she has taught the Turkish language to 470 people.

“All of my students are studying engineering and are eager to learn Turkish because they plan to work with Turkish companies in Ethiopia. They believe that knowing Turkish will help them get into the business easily,” she said.

Ciftci said the hospitality of Ethiopians and their keen interest in the language are helpful to her work and stay in the country.

Kubilay Han Kalkan, a Turkish lecturer at Addis Ababa University, said they registered 110 students for this academic year because they have a limited number of classes dedicated to the project.

”There is huge additional demand for the courses. We always have new students registering for the next class,” he said.

The Yunus Emre Institute’s goal is to promote Turkish language and culture to people living thousands of kilometers away from Ankara, Kalkan said, adding his department will accept a higher number of students next year.

Hussein Idris, a graduate student of sociology at Addis Ababa University, said he is very happy to be doing well with his Turkish lessons and hopes to pursue his graduate studies in Turkey.

He expressed his love for Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he closely follows news about Turkey and Erdogan.

“May Allah grant a long life to Erdogan. I always pray for him. I want Turkey to have a strong relationship with the Horn of African countries Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea,” he said.

Yildiz Cetin, a Turkish lecturer at Mekelle University, said they are teaching Turkish to 320 students this semester.

“The lessons are very productive. Students from departments like law, accounting and social sciences are taking our courses.”

Cetin said the students have already learned about Turkish culture from Turkish drama series and there is growing demand to be allowed to celebrate Turkish Day at the college.

“There is an amazing level of interest from the students, and we are trying to meet the demand. Students are competing to visit Turkey and attend summer school,” he added.

The Yunus Emre Institute has launched Turkish studies projects in 46 countries and at 85 universities. Eighty-five Turkish academicians are working with the projects and taught 4,785 people Turkish last year. The institute is planning to enable successful students to take summer courses in Turkey.