Two NGOs on Monday lauded a move by the Turkish Education Ministry to add Bosnian and Albanian languages to the middle school syllabus on an elective basis from September.
Head of Constant Cooperation and Contact with The Balkans, Ali Sait Adiloglu said that the decision to add these languages to the syllabus would greatly contribute to helping keep diversity alive in the country.
"Our Albanian and Bosnian origin citizens have welcomed this decision which will further strengthen the unity and solidarity of our country," he said.
Taner Odemis, chairman of MAK-DER, an association based in western Bursa province for descendants of Macedonian, Albanian, and Kosovar-origin Turkish emigrants, also praised the move which was announced last month.
Odemis said that Turkish Balkan emigrants comprised a large part of the Bursa demographic, and it was possible to run into people speaking Bosnian and Albanian on the streets and in cafes.
"However, the third and fourth generations do not speak the language anymore. Therefore, we think this is a significant decision in that the new generation will get the chance to learn their mother tongue," he added.
From the next academic year, pupils aged 13-16 will be able to learn Bosnian and Albanian as part of the Living Languages and Dialects course, under which they can already learn languages spoken in Turkey and neighboring countries, such as the Kurdish dialects Kurmanji and Sorani along with Laz, Abkhazian and Georgian.
From the age of seven to 18, students are taught compulsory English, as well as being able to choose to study German and French.
Under a 2015 agreement between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkish is taught in more than 80 schools across Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Bosnian, a variety of Serbo-Croat, is spoken by about 2.2 million people, mostly in Bosnia-Herzegovina but also in other former Yugoslav states. Around 5 million people in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece speak Albanian.