By Ali Murat Alhas
ANKARA (AA) – International students from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso completed an occupational safety program organized by Turkey’s Family, Labour and Social Services Ministry.
The 40-hour-long occupational safety program was run by the ministry’s Center for Labor and Social Security Training Research (CASGEM), providing each international participant with a certificate.
Abdurrahim Senocak, the chairman of CASGEM, said Turkey sought to provide training activities for foreign students living across the globe, which paved the way for sincere future relations.
"We had the opportunity to transfer our field experience to the students," he said, adding "cultural diplomacy" was an important aspect of Turkey’s foreign policy.
More international students should come to Turkey so they could improve themselves, he said, and added: "We are currently in touch with many countries. We can arrange such programs much easier with the countries Turkey has agreements with".
Turkic republics, Balkans, the Middle East and African countries are the leading ones sending students to Turkey, and they take Turkey as a "model country," according to Senocak.
"Casgem was established with the aim of sharing our field experience with these countries in different continents," he said.
He added that Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, the labour, social services and family minister, paid great importance to training international students and the government adopted this as an important policy tool to boost future relations with other countries.
Muhammed Tariq, a construction engineer, said he enjoyed the program, which provided him with new perspectives on occupational safety.
Muhammed, 25, said: "As part of our program, we visited TUPRAS [oil company] and spent a whole day there. We learned the basic principles of occupational health and safety, as well as the measures to be adopted in our work environment".
Azhar Alem, 24, said he was not informed about the occupational hazards before the program, but the certification program gave him new insights regarding safety.
"We learned what kind of measures to take under certain circumstances," he said, adding that this program and such initiatives contributed to countries’ cultural diplomacy and overcoming biases on Turkey.