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The First Ottoman Turkish Educational Council Meeting was held between September 12th and September 14th 2014 in Isparta.

The Ottoman Turkish Courses protocol, which was first signed between the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning of the Ministry of National Education and Hayrât Foundation in 2012, was extended to 2019.

This renewed protocol, which was signed by the Minister of National Education Prof Dr Nabi Avcı personally, included a new clause.

With this new clause Ottoman Turkish courses will be able to be opened abroad, which broadens the educational domain and is seen as an important step for rebuilding the cultural ties.

After the extension of the protocol, Hayrât Foundation officials held the Ottoman Turkish Educational Council Meeting between September 12th and September 14th 2014 in Isparta. 110 experts participated in the meeting where the general situation of the courses was evaluated and future plans for the courses were made.

Said Yavuz, who signed the protocol on behalf of Hayrât Foundation, said the followings in the opening speech of the meeting:

“We wished to make an assessment with you, our friends, who endeavour for these courses continuing in Turkey. We will evaluate what has been done till today and discuss what can be done in the future. Because we give importance to your valuable ideas, contributions and suggestions in order to build a more qualified and sustainable service. In this meeting, there are academicians, teachers, representatives of Hayrât Foundation, and course coordinators. In order that this council represent the entire Turkey, we tried to gather participants from all 81 provinces.  In this meeting that will discharge the responsibility assigned to us by our historical heritage I hope we will find ways to teach Ottoman Turkish to the wider society in easy methods. I thank you all for your participation.”

Board member of Hayrât Foundation Bülend Güner evaluated the current situation of the courses along with the historic process:

“This council meeting will open up our horizon and guide us. I hope this meeting will be an opportunity for us to make necessary decisions on how to continue this service in the best way. My brothers! A day is 24 hours. We simply need the 25th hour! Yes, as humans we are closely related to the worldly affairs. Some of our friends here work as officers and spend their spare time volunteering for this service. What makes us different is that we work and endeavour without looking after any benefits. With its 3 thousand teachers, in 12 thousand classes at 470 centres Hayrât Foundation has made this service for almost two years in a devoted manner without being in expectation of anything; and it has given 90 thousand people their Ottoman Turkish learning certificates.”

Mustafa Yankın, the president of International Educators Association (ULUED), one of the sides in a protocol with General Directorate of Secondary Education, which aims at increasing the awareness of students about the importance of Ottoman Turkish and Ottoman Turkish courses, informed the participants about the works that will be done this year.

Mustafa Yankın expressed that 9 thousand teachers working at state schools received certificates, and courses for the teachers at schools will continue. Those teachers who take Ottoman Turkish courses and get certificates will teach Ottoman Turkish at state schools. “When optional Ottoman Turkish class is selected by students at schools, eagerness of teachers and students and their number will both increase. We have started the necessary works on the education of the teachers and we are increasing our efforts,” said Yankın.

In the second day of the Ottoman Turkish Educational Council meeting, Gürkan Tekin from the Department of Youth Centres joined the meeting on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sport. He was informed about the courses planned to be taught in Youth Centres and KYK (state) dormitories. And potential problems were discussed.

In his speech, Tekin said, “We have a lot of projects. Ottoman Turkish course is one of them. Now there are Ottoman Turkish courses in 60 Youth Centres. We want this project increasingly continue. Thank you very much that you do this service voluntarily. And thank you for the course you taught to the ministry personnel in Ramadan. Our general manager conveys his salaams to you.”

Prof Dr İlhan Deniz, Assoc Prof Dr Ömer İşbilir, Assoc Prof Dr Ali Sarıışık and Assist Prof Dr Yusuf Bilen talked about how to continue Ottoman Turkish service in the universities in a richer and wider way. They made evaluations about the education of both the course teachers and the students for reading documents and manuscripts. Accordingly it is proposed that “an Ottoman Turkish department can be opened within an institution; graduates from every field can apply this department; Ottoman cultural societies can be established in universities and libraries; Ottoman Turkish can be introduced in scientific projects fairs at high schools.” And it was underscored that it would be an important step to make Ottoman Turkish a compulsory subject.

Being able to read Ottoman Turkish is very important. But being able to write it is important as well. In addition to teaching the spelling rules, beautiful handwriting is indispensible as well. In this respect, calligraphers Yusuf Bilen, Mesud Hizarcı and Ömer Demir talked about the works done and the current situation of the course teachers’ handwritings. And they drew a frame for future works.

Publications are also very important for the courses. The printed publications were evaluated and future publications that will be needed were discussed. Editorial director for publications Metin Uçar gave the good news that the preparation of “advanced level practice books, reading books for rik’a (cursive handwriting) and textbooks for schools” was completed and they could be used in the new term. He also talked about the impression made by the Ottoman Turkish Educational and Cultural Magazine, which is a result of the courses and published by Hayrât Foundation; and its importance for the learners was underlined.

Osman Gazali Çakmak and Bahaddin Kızılkaya, who are in charge of the website and social media of the courses, talked about their works. Presentations were made about the course registration system on osmanlicaegitim.com, the system for course coordinators, the learner monitoring system, and solutions for the problems encountered. Moreover, the works done on social media, which turned into an educational platform, were shared and evaluated.

In the last day of the council meeting, Deputy Minister of National Education connected to the meeting via telephone. He greeted the participants of the council. And he was informed about the issues discussed. He said, “Our friends who are carrying out these works are in expectation of no interest. All of these people, who endeavour to help this nation to meet and connect with its past, are very valuable. I thank all of them. The protocol was extended for five years. It also included opening courses abroad. I believe these services will continue with even more enthusiasm; because we lost our civilization and common language. For this reason, our President, our Prime Minister and our Minister of National Education support these works. I salute again our academicians, teachers and other friends there and thank all of them.”

Finally, the council ended with the president of Hayrât Foundation Said Nuri Ertürk’s speech about the importance of these services and his prayer.

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