At the pre-New-Year meeting of the Turkish Language Speaking Club held at St Petersburg University, the participants were taught the art of self-introduction. They learned how to talk about their native land, its landmarks and points of interest.

The Club’s honoured guests were Mr Özgün Talu, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg, and Sergey Andryushin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University.

Meetings of the Turkish Speaking Club are held every second Saturday. The main purpose of the Club is to acquaint the participants with the culture of modern Türkiye.

‘We organised the Turkish Speaking Club with the support of our two long-term partners — the Rönesans Construction Company and the Consulate General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg,’ underlined Sergey Andryushin. ‘Thanks to their assistance, the University can maintain a high level of the Turkish language teaching and Turkish studies in general. The Republic of Türkiye is a strategic partner of the Russian Federation — we are connected by the history of long relations, policy, culture, and much more.’

Sergey Andryushin also commended the Director of the Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies and Russia-Türkiye Relations at St Petersburg University Professor Apollinariia Avrutina for her great contribution to the development of the University’s international relations.

The theme of the meeting was "My native land", or "Memleketim" in Turkish. According to the Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg Mr Özgün Talu, in his country, when you first meet a person, it is customary to ask two questions: what is your name and where do you come from?

I think this is historically connected with the nomadic lifestyle of the Turks. If you look at modern Turks, the ancestors of more than half of them came from other countries and regions. My paternal grandfather, for instance, is Bosnian.

Mr Özgün Talu, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg

The meeting participants showed keen interest in stories about: the Karachay-Cherkess Republic; Krasnodar Krai; the Republic of Khakassia; the Republic of Bashkortostan; the city of Kostroma; and, of course, St Petersburg. The Turkish-speaking guests shared their stories about: İstanbul; the intricacies of the national cuisine of Türkiye; its cultural sites and points of interest.

‘It is really important that students should know how to behave in a foreign country,’ said Aliya Suleimanova, Associate Professor in the Department of Turkic Philology at St Petersburg University. ‘Hence, it is essential that they learn how to introduce and talk about themselves in a foreign language when meeting people for the first time, with all eyes on them.’

Mr Özgün Talu admitted that he was impressed by the stories of the Club members about their native lands in Turkish. ‘You speak Turkish much better than I speak Russian,’ Mr Özgün Talu praised the students. He also expressed his opinion that the Turkish Speaking Club accomplishes its purpose of developing language skills through informal communication with native speakers.