A reported number of 250 personnel of the Gambian Armed Forces (GAF) have commenced training to learn the language and other cultural values of Turkey.
This training was instituted as a precondition for an upcoming military training in Turkey; selected personnel will be air-lifted from The Gambia to Turkey for the training which is considered as part of a bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Tolga Bermek, Turkey’s ambassador to The Gambia revealed that, this is not the first time the army is receiving this language training. He expressed excitement at how he feels when he hears some of them speak Turkish language on the streets of The Gambia. He also called for the language program to be extended beyond just military training to cover a broader scope of Gambians.
“Thousands of Gambian soldiers are being trained either in Turkey or The Gambia. By improving their professional Capabilities with this program, many of the armed officers have had the chance to learn Turkish and from time to time I come across some people on the streets speaking Turkish and then I introduce myself to them and they start to speak Turkish and tell me about their wonderful memories in Turkey. This is really nice; in this regard, this program should not be regarded as just a military training program,” ambassador Tolga said.
According to Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Yankuba Drammeh “the trainees will be introduced into the very essence of the language and this denotes what subsequent actions will come afterward.” He stated further that, “every one of the student has critical assignment which include how they perform, assimilate the instructions and of course, among other things to determine the subsequent course of action.”
“You cannot partake in those trainings if you do not have what it takes to effectively and efficiently partake in a training mode that is designed exclusively to prepare for a very noble assignment in a given peace operations” He added.
Even though the introduction of the language was argued from a diplomatic point of view, some citizens of The Gambian and concerned Africans hold contrary view.
Critics are of the opinion that, the move is synonymous to cultural imperialism where the values, practices, and meanings of a powerful foreign culture are imposed on another. According to them, whilst in Turkey, the Army could be trained in English which is a universal language.
Others are forming opinions that, this training is a complete waste of time and resources on grounds that, the language may become useless after the training course is completed because they will not get others to speak it with. What do you think about this development?