The Turkish schools, which were opened with the help of volunteer Turkish teachers right after the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, are among the top educational institutions in the country.
The first Turkish school was opened in 1996 at a building in Sarajevo's Vraca neighborhood, which was under the control of Serbs during the war and used by Chetniks, Serb fascists who tortured and killed thousands of Bosnians. The years that followed saw more Turkish schools open. Today, there are seven schools in four cities welcoming elementary and high school students. Additionally, Sarajevo is also home to a university built by Turkish entrepreneurs.
Some 1,500 graduates of the Sema Education Association, an association established by the Turkish schools, are now serving their people in various parts of Bosnia while some of them are working as teachers in the schools they graduated from. These teachers, who did not know a word of Turkish, are now teaching Turkish to their Bosnian students.
Speaking to Anatolia, 23-year-old Mirza Obric, who studied at the International Turkish College in Ilidza, a suburb of Sarajevo, is now teaching Turkish to Bosnian children at the school he studied.
Obric said he is very pleased to be working with the teachers who taught him. He added, “When I first started to work at the school, I was confused about how to address my teachers who had taught me for years. This is why I thought it best to call them ‘ağabey' [elder brother in Turkish]. My ağabeys and I are now working towards building the future generations.”
The young teacher added that he did not speak or understand Turkish at all at first but that he is now teaching Turkish to Bosnian children at the very school where he learned to speak Turkish.
Obric said one of his teachers, Ceylani Akay, had paid a visit to his house to speak to his parents regarding his progress at the school. “Ceylani ağabey's son is a student of mine. I recently visited their house, just at Ceylani ağabey visited mine some time ago. This visit was very emotional.”
Mustafa Doğan, the head master of the International Turkish College, who has been working as a teacher for 11 years in Bosnia, said it is very nice to see his students come back to the school as teachers.