Zagreb Yunus Emre Enstitüsü was opened on April 27th 2016 with a ceremony attended by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish ministers.
In the opening speech Enstitü President Prof. Dr. Şeref Ateş thanked the President for his honouring, and continued as follows: “As Our President stated in Baku, as we open our borders to our neighbours without hesitating only because they are people and preserve our humanity, we try to maintain these human values in Anatolia's blood and share these with the whole world with Yunus Emre Enstitüsü centres. Yunus Emre Enstitüsü will do its best to carry out the missions by strengthening the friendship between Turkish and Croat people, further the rooted relationship,establishing new bridges between artists and scientists, and teaching Turkish. I believe that the centuries-old relationship between Turkey and Croatia will contribute in both regional and global peace, and wish the friendship between the people to be permanent.”
President Erdoğan marked in his speech that they are witnessing an unusual moment with regard to cultural collaboration.
Addressing the culture, art and education operations of the Enstitü abroad, Erdoğan underlined the cultural unity between the two nations. Materials prepared by the Enstitü are used both in Enstitü's courses and institutions where Turkish instruction is offered, Erdoğan said, “I think our job in Croatia will be easy. There are around two thousand common words; we can add to these and facilitate speaking.”
Underlining that there is a good number of common words in Turkish and Croatian, Erdoğan spoke as follows:
The term 'ortak' (partner) is an expression of our partnership in itself. Today, there are around two thousand common words used in daily Croatian. 'Hajde' (come on) is 'haydi', 'yastuk' (pillow) is 'yastık' in Turkish; it is referred to as 'yastuk' in Black Sea region. 'Çarapa' (sock) is çorap, 'bubrek' (kidney) is böbrek and boya (colour), çay (tea), badem (almond), çizme (boot) are just a few examples. Zagreb Yunus Emre Enstitüsü will offer our Croatian friends who take interest in Turkish the opportunity to learn Turkish as well as promoting Turkish culture and arts. Yunus Emre Enstitüsü will also further the cultural exchange between the two countries, and cement our friendship.”
I consider this meaningful opening to be significant”
Erdoğan spoke as follows: “I consider the inauguration of Yunus Emre Enstitü centre in Zagreb to be significant. It is truly appealing to open the centre today, in the 100th anniversary of Croatia accepting Islam as an official religion. I wish it to be beneficial, and cut the ribbon with this wish and prayer. Allah, Bismillah.”
Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Miro Kovic also took the floor in the opening. Kovic, addressing the past and depth of the historical relationship between Turkey and Croatia, said these ties will be furthered by Yunus Emre Enstitüsü opened in Zagreb.
Opening was attended by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahir Ünal, Turkish Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, Croatian Deputy Minister of Culture, diplomats, and distinguished guests and was widely covered by Croatian press