ISTANBUL, March 8 (Xinhua) -- More than 60 Turkish students were granted a scholarship on Wednesday for their outstanding studies of the Chinese language.
The awards were presented by Qian Bo, the Chinese consul general in Istanbul, under a scholarship program set up in 2016. Twenty of those honored from five universities in the city were also awarded a chance to visit China for one week in June.
Qian said the interest in the Chinese language and literature has augmented significantly during the last couple of years thanks to the establishment of Chinese research centers and Chinese language departments in some universities in Istanbul.
"The scholarship program aims to carry this interest even further, so that more and more young Turkish students will have a chance to learn about the Chinese culture, while forming a bridge between the two societies," he said.
Referring to the fact that Turkey and China achieved a trade volume of 27.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 and China's non-financial direct investment in Turkey reached 1.3 billion dollars, he said "all these developments require more and more young people able to speak both languages in both countries."
Ahmet Ince, a deputy director of Yeditepe University, urged Turkish students to learn foreign languages as much as possible to meet the needs of the world.
Sule Kut, the rector of Okan University, said Turkish academics have been appreciating China's scholarship program.
"We ask for the continuation of such kind of projects that encourage Turkish students to learn more about China and its culture," she said.