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Turkish group targets 60 culture centers abroad in 2017

TURKISH GROUP TARGETS 60 CULTURE CENTERS ABROAD IN 2017

A Turkish government nonprofit promoting the country's language and culture abroad plans to have 60 offices worldwide by year's-end, the group's head said Wednesday.

"We aim to increase the number of our offices abroad to 60 by the end of this year by working in the U.S., China, Ukraine, Russia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Argentina and Brazil," Seref Ates, head of the Yunus Emre Institute, told Anadolu Agency.

Ates said that the legal groundwork to open culture centers abroad takes time and so to speed up the process, deals are made with local universities, citing Michigan State University in the U.S. as an example.

"With this agreement we envisage an academic exchange and business alliance program enabling us to do scholarly work in the U.S., in Turkey, or in third countries," he said.

"We have concrete efforts to work together, especially in African countries," he added.

Ates stated that in addition to its U.S. headquarters in Washington, the institute plans to open offices in New York and Boston this year.

Ates also said that last month during a visit to China, a bilateral cultural agreement was signed to open a cultural center there.

"Hopefully, we will have opened a center in China when the legal infrastructure is completed this year, so we will have a chance to speak to nearly 1.5 billion people," Ates said.

The institute is named after famous Turkish poet Yunus Emre, who lived from 1238 to 1320. Founded in 2009, it offers artistic, social, and scholarly programs and promotes Turkish language and culture with more than 40 cultural centers abroad.

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