Nouran, a bright 19 year old, originally from Idleb. Nouran came to Turkey six years ago with her family, including four brothers and two sisters. She and her family first came to Hatay. Nouran completed the advanced Turkish language course and now equipped with the language skills wants to go on to study Medicine to become a doctor.
During the social and cultural tour in Cappadocia, Nouran had the chance to ride a horse. She tells us about her childhood in Idleb where her uncle had three horses on their farm and she used to visit him often to enjoy horseback riding. When she saw the horseback riding touristic activity, she was one of the first to jump at the chance to try. She was very excited at the opportunity as she hadn’t been able to ride a horse since she and her family left Idleb.
For the past five years, Nouran says she did not learn Turkish at all, but thanks to two projects funded by the European Union and the Government of Turkey, which are implemented by the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and UNHCR, she is now fluent in Turkish and will be able to pursue her dreams of higher education.
There is a wrong perception that Syrian student are benefiting more from the Turkish government rather than Turkish people. This may come because of several factors such as wrong informations about Turkish policies or media’s effect to politicize the situation.
But are they really receiving unfair treatment (in education system)? To answer to this question let’s look to the data i have collect from online platforms offering scholarships announcement which shows that in a number of 60 scholarships in total governmental or not, only 5 of them are dedicated to foreign students and 4 for both of them (Turkish and not Turkish). In other words we can say that in a total amount of scholarships 85% of them are dedicated to Turkish citizens, 5% to both Turkish and non Turkish citizens and the other 8% to only international students. It’s also true that those scholarships provides different amounts of pocket money and support but somehow can be equal in terms of expenses. Let’s take as an example of a Syrian student and a Turkish one, they both live in Turkey but don’t have same expense. They may both pay for dormitory, books, and other expenses related to their student life but there are some other expenses which are not same such as clothes, accessories and other tools which a Turkish one can bring from and back to home and a non Turkish far from home can’t..But this is just a little amount of money and the difference here are some other expenses such as resident permission and health insurance.
When we talk about hosting policies, does the Turkish government gives priority to “strengthening diplomatic relation with their national relatives” or to “the opening door to the countries in conflicts and less developed countries”? At the other hand are Syrian student the largest amount of students which Turkey is hosting? As according to the data from UDEFF, with figures for international students for 2016, it is true that Syrian students are on the top 15 countries from where Turkey is hosting the most such as: Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhistan, Kosovo, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Somalia, Syria, Turkmenistan and Greece. If we analyze those countries we can categorise them in two groups: those who have Turkish minority or nations who pretend their self to be Turkish or with Turkish origins such as: Republic of Azerbaijan, Kazakhistan, Russian Federation (Mongols and Circassians) and Greece (Turks of Cyprus) the second one those who are involved in very alarming situation such as: Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, and the last one those who are representing both of them: Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, Turkmenistan.
Analyzing those data I have realized that in an amount of 87106 the number of Syrian students is 9684 which makes only the 11.1% and can be ranked as the third highest percentage after Republic of Azerbaijan with 14% and Turkmenistan 11.4%. So much more priority is given to a country like Azerbaijan for different reasons for instance: strengthening diplomatic relations, neighborhood, cultural and language similarities etc.
What we need to emphasizes here is that from 5 kind of scholarships two are from international organizations such as UNHCR and DAAD which means practically those “money” are not coming from Turkish people taxes but from abroad, more precisely from Europe.
Sources: UNHCR Turkey and UDEF