The Cervantes Institute will strengthen the teaching of the Spanish language and culture in Turkey thanks to the forthcoming opening of an extension in Ankara, the capital of the country, where it already has a centre in the city of Istanbul. The agreement to create this extension will be one of the main topics of the working trip that the director of the institution will make to the Republic of Turkey from 11 to 13 October. In addition, Luis García Montero will hold a literary evening with the writer Benjamín Prado on Thursday, as part of the "Encuentro de Literatura Iberoamericana 12 de octubre" organised in Istanbul on the occasion of Columbus Day.
The Institute's new extension in Ankara, which will be attached to Cervantes Istanbul, will be located at Baskent University, a renowned private institution created in 1994. In its classrooms on the Bağlica Campus, Spanish classes, workshops and seminars will be held from next January. Some time later, training programmes for teachers and Spanish examiners will be offered. Examinations for the official DELE Spanish diplomas will also be held and administered.
The director of Cervantes Istanbul, Fernando Martínez-Vara de Rey de Irezábal, and the president of the University of Baskent, Haldun Müderrisoğlu, will sign the agreement next Friday, 13 October, in the presence of the director of Cervantes, Luis García Montero, and the Spanish ambassador, Javier Hergueta Garnica. The ceremony will take place at 12:30 pm (local time, 11:30 am in Spain) at the Spanish ambassador's summer residence in Büyükdere.
Ankara, with a population of nearly six million, is the seat of the Turkish government. It is also home to more than twenty embassies of Latin American countries, which will facilitate the hosting of the numerous cultural activities (conferences, exhibitions, book presentations, etc.) organised by the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul, which can also be held in the political capital of the country.
Baskent University has more than 1,700 teaching staff and 17,000 students a year, who study both technical and scientific disciplines and the arts and humanities in its extensive facilities. It has twelve faculties, a music conservatory, eight institutes, a foreign language school and 22 research centres.
In terms of university studies in languages other than Turkish, the university offers remedial classes in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian. In this context, the new extension of the Cervantes Institute in Ankara, which was approved by the Instituto's board of directors last Tuesday, will be located in the building of the Vocational School of Languages.
Spanish in Turkey
With this forthcoming opening, the Instituto Cervantes complements the teaching and cultural activities it carries out in the centre of Istanbul and strengthens its presence and influence in the Republic of Turkey. Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey, with great social and political activity, and is among the cities in the world with the most powerful cultural heartbeat.
Since it opened in September 2001, the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul has seen a remarkable growth in its teaching activity: the number of annual enrolments to learn Spanish has doubled from 1,803 to over 3,500.
According to the article "Spanish in Turkey" written in 2021 by the then director of the Istanbul centre, Eduardo Manglano, Spanish is the second foreign language of greatest interest to students in that country. And it has established itself as the third language for adults, after English and German.
Spanish is taught in the vast majority of public schools in the country, where it has become the second most important foreign language after English. It is less present in public schools, as it is not yet included in the academic programmes of the Turkish Ministry of Education.
Among the reasons for the interest in learning Spanish are the large number of Spanish speakers (almost 500 million native speakers worldwide), including in the United States, and various socio-cultural factors such as football, music in Spanish, gastronomy and films and television series in our language.
Ibero-American literature for the 12th of October
Luis García Montero's working trip to Turkey will be rounded off by his participation in the 'Encuentro de Literatura Iberoamericana 12 de octubre', a three-day festival, the first of its kind in Turkey, which celebrates the vigour of Spanish-language literature. Organised for the first time by the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul and the Spanish Embassy on the occasion of Columbus Day, it has been joined by the Spanish-American embassies, which have facilitated the participation of a dozen writers from those countries.
García Montero will talk with the writer Benjamín Prado on Thursday 12 (17:45 local time, one hour less in Spain), in the poetry evening that will close the literary activities of the meeting. Beforehand (16:00), the director of Cervantes Istanbul, Fernando Martínez-Vara de Rey, will moderate the colloquium "Eternal Stories" with the writers Héctor Abad Faciolince (Colombia) and Federico Navarrete (El Salvador).
The festival, which will take place at the Barceló Hotel, will also include the participation of writers Vanessa Monfort, Almudena de Arteaga and Javier Moro (Spain), Leonardo Padura (Cuba), Santiago Roncagliolo (Peru), David Noria (Mexico), Juan David Morgan (Panama) and Natalia García Freire (Ecuador) on 10 and 11 October.
In addition, the Sephardic community will be present, exhibiting books and publications and bringing the intervention of Mario Levi (Turkey), who will read a preview of his first novel in Judeo-Spanish. On the other hand, during the weekend, some complementary literary activities will continue at the Cervantes Institute headquarters.
Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.