At the graduation ceremony on Wednesday 4 August 2021, deputy chief of Defence Staff Major General Mamat O. Cham, said the graduation of the 500 GAF personnel indicates that they have successfully made the sleepless nights of studying the Turkish language and struggling to meet the requirements a success.
He added that those hard hours that the students had gone through during the past three months are not in vain as the course must have broadened their ability and proficiency beyond their ordinary knowledge to areas of learning new languages and skills of doing other things amongst other benefits.
He outlined that the graduates must therefore leave the institution with the understanding that they have newly acquired a language with high expectations from the side of the GAF, with the ability to quickly comprehend essentials in language and exhibit reasonable degree of being able to communicate in order to put their points across and be understood are very essential in their military career.
For his part, Tolga Berek, Turkish ambassador to The Gambia said: “I was at the inauguration ceremony and had expressed my view that this is not only a military training programme but also a good instrument in developing our people-to-people relations.
He explained that a new language opens all kinds of doors to new cultures, new friendships and brings professional opportunities.” We know that a language cannot be learned properly in a few months. It may take years to have a good command of any foreign language,” he noted.
According to him, even the modest level of Turkish language they have acquired here in the country will help them better understand the training programme in Turkey.
He added that the programme they just finished would be a real added value in developing friendship ties between the two countries as the Turkish relationship with The Gambia is developing at every level: political, economic, commercial, agricultural, health and technical cooperation.
“Our military cooperation is one of the main pillars of our long-lasting friendship. Since early 1990s, we have been committed to intensifying our support to the Gambian Armed Forces in the areas of training and logistical support,” he added.
Major Modou J. Manneh, the second in command of the Gambia Armed Forces who was also part of the trainees said: “We take immense pleasure in thanking the Turkish MAARIF Foundation for the successful implementation of the three months Turkish language course for the members of the Gambia Armed Forces, and by extension thank our respected principal of the foundation.