Why Learn Turkish?
The idea of learning Turkish is strange for most students, but they quickly become excited as soon as they discover the career opportunities and adventure that exist in Turkey. Its central position between Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East along with its heritage of great civilizations and cultures make Turkish one of the most useful languages in the world. Since pre-historic times, Turkey has been a vital bridge between Europe and Asia. The mighty Ottoman Empire, predecessor to the modern Turkish state, consolidated much of Eastern Europe and the Middle East into one great civilization until the early 20th century. The flavor of Turkish culture is richly cosmopolitan, a sophisticated mix of ancient traditions and a contemporary spirit.
For Americans, Turkey's liberal political and intellectual climate and its bridging of East and the West, of the traditional and the modern, creates a vibrant and comforting environment. Learning Turkish offers access to many new opportunities for business, scientific and technological research, as well as for scholarship and journalism. Currently, students in Turkey are learning English at a record rate, while few Americans are learning Turkish. To offset this imbalance of skill and opportunity, there is a great need for Americans to meet the creative challenge of learning Turkish.
Some very practical reasons for undertaking Turkish language lessons:
- Turkey is a major power in the Middle East, with a population of over 70 million. Uniquely positioned between Europe and Asia geographically, culturally and politically, Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the region and has been on the track to become a member nation of the European Union since 1999. Turkey is also a long time member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Council of Europe, the OECD and is an associate member of the Western European Union.
- Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Turkey continues forming close cultural and business ties within the emerging Turkic states of the Caucus and Central Asia. Turkey is looked up to as an inspiration to other Turkic peoples.
- Turkish is key for accessing Turkic languages spoken by tens of millions of people in the Near East, the former Soviet Union, western China, and the Balkans — all regions of vital strategic importance in the world today. These languages of Turkic origin include Uzbek, Tatar, Kazakh, Azeri and Turkmen.
- Modern Turkish is extremely helpful as a foundational skill if one is interested in learning classical Ottoman Turkish, a key that unlocks the writings of countless philosophers and historians.
- The Turkish economy is the world’s 17h largest economy according to the IMF’s 2010 data, and the U.S. Commerce Department has identified Turkey as one of the 10 emerging markets that will drive global economic growth. Few are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Turkey; learning Turkish positions you for successes others allow to slip away.
- Business partnerships between Turkey and the USA are steadily growing, creating an ever-increasing demand for Americans that are fluent in Turkish and have a knowledge and understanding of Turkish culture. If you plan to enter government service or do business in Turkey, fluency in Turkish is indispensable to your success. Business opportunities are rapidly opening in Turkey, and its pending membership in the European Union will only enhance its global business importance.
- Studying Turkish immerses you in Turkey's cultural heritage – the fine and performing arts, music, lifestyle - and gives you a depth of understanding far surpassing the shallow stereotypes of popular journalism. Such understanding makes you a valuable asset to corporations, the government, and other organizations promoting productive alliances with the Middle East.
- Numerous career opportunities already exist in technology, archaeology, computer science, ecological and environmental studies. These will grow with Turkey's ever increasing emergence as a central economic power.
- For students of political science and history specializing in Eastern European studies, Ottoman history, or modern Turkey, Turkish language skills open seldom entered research opportunities.
- Anatolia, the territory of modern Turkey, has been vastly important to human civilization since 7,000 BCE. In Turkey, you can explore pre-historic Çatal Hoyuk, walk the routes traveled by Saint Paul, storm the city of Troy, visit the village of the last home of the Virgin Mary, behold the sanctuary of Saint Nicholas, stroll on the shores that Homer visited and Cleopatra swam, and experience the alluring mystery of the whirling Dervishes.
- Many linguists praised the impressiveness of the Turkish language over other languages. Max Muller says “Reading any Turkish Grammar book is a joy for any one who would like to learn Turkish language. It provokes great admiration for the ones who comprehend the power of the mind through language because of its simplicity, transparency, regular syntactical structure and tenses. Everything in Turkish language is crystal-clear.”