TURKISH LEARNING GUIDE FOR FOREIGNERSIstanbul has been a meeting point of cultures, nations, ideas, sounds, and last but not least, languages since it was named the capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330. Although the official language of the city was changed from Greek to Ottoman Turkish after Mehmet II had conquered Istanbul in 1453, it was possible to hear numerous languages other than Turkish up until the first half of the 20th c., a period where grand population exchanges took place.
On the other hand, starting from the 16th c., artists, merchants and statesmen —mainly from France and Italy— who came and settled in Istanbul learned Turkish, the official language of the empire. Nowadays it is much easier for foreigners living in Istanbul to learn Turkish compared to 400 years ago.
Today, modern Turkish, also known as Istanbul Turkish, is the most spoken language of the Turkic languages, which are spoken by more than 200 million people on a geography spanning from East Europe to West China. As for the institutions teaching Istanbul Turkish to foreigners, TÖMER (Turkish and Foreign Languages Research and Application Center) is among the most prominent in Istanbul.
TÖMER of Ankara University has been teaching Turkish as a foreign language since 1984. There are two branches of TÖMER in Istanbul, one in Kadıköy and the other in Taksim. Teaching Turkish as a foreign language with a scientific approach, TÖMER has an experienced staff, some of whom have completed master's and doctorate education on foreign language teaching techniques. For more information, visit http://tomer.ankara.edu.tr/en/home-page/.
One of the options for foreigners to learn Turkish besides the universities' language centers and some private institutions, is the Turkish courses of İSMEK, which is a part of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Foreign citizens living in Istanbul can benefit from ISMEK's courses with the documents they will receive from the Police Departments. In order to participate in the courses, online application must be made by clicking on the "Yabancı Kursiyer Girişi" ("Foreign Course Entry") button at kursiyer.ismek.org. Like all other courses of ISMEK, the Turkish Course for Foreigners is free.
In addition to these options, it is also possible to support Turkish language learning through various mobile applications.