International alumni praise education in Turkey

Foreign alumni speak highly of their time in Turkey where they studied and later returned to their hometowns as Turkophiles.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency about how getting an education in Turkey contributed to their lives and careers, graduates from Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Montenegro told how they earned a good reputation thanks to their time in Turkey.

Azay Guliyev, vice-president of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, is one of them.

Guliyev said his training in Turkey "shaped my future and changed my view of life."

In 1995-96, he had a scholarship to study at the Public Administration Institute for Turkey and Middle East (PAITME) in Ankara, which was founded in 1952 based on an agreement signed between Turkey and the UN.

"If I had not gotten an education in Turkey, I might have not gotten involved in politics and not been active in so many platforms," he said.

Pointing to thousands of students coming to Turkey to study, Guliyev said those students "are Turkey's gain."

"Because they became envoys of Turkey," he said, calling on all the international graduates to "love Turkey, and take care of Turkey's interests."

Another is Pakistan's Muhammad Nawaz Tahir, who completed his PhD in physics and engineering at Ankara's Hacettepe University in 1997.

"Turkish people are real friends," he said, also pointing to the "good relations" between his country and Turkey.

Tahir said he suggested that his students go and study in Turkish universities, which he said offers "a very good education in chemistry and physics."

Currently heading the Physics Department at Pakistan's Sargodha University, Tahir still keeps in touch with scientists at Turkish universities, and they do joint projects.

'Studying in Turkey is a privilege'

Rifat Feyzic, the president of Montenegro's Islamic Union, expressed his pleasure at having studied in Turkey.

In 1999 he got a degree in theology at Dokuz Eylul University in the Aegean Izmir province.

After his studies in Turkey, he held various positions in Montenegro, and currently serves as its head mufti, or religious affairs director.

"Turkey has always opened its doors to people," Feyzic said. "I am happy and proud that I studied in Turkey."

Recalling the difficult times in the Balkans in the 1990s, he said it was very difficult to study theology in the region.

"By studying in Turkey, I could learn Turkish and get a good reputation among the people."

Calling studying in Turkey "a privilege," Feyzic said he urges people around him to do the same.

One of his nieces is studying preschool education at Istanbul's Marmara University, and another is studying psychology in the central Eskisehir province.

An Istanbul event on Saturday "Turkey Again: Alumni Gathering" brought together around 500 international alumni -- the first reunion since Turkey's launch of the Grand Student Project 25 years ago.

It was organized by the Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), which is the sole authority to provide government scholarships to international students.

In recent years, Turkey has become a popular destination for international students, both for scholarship-holders and other students.

According to the latest YTB data, 16,817 foreign students study in Turkish universities on scholarships provided by the government, while over 100,000 are studying in Turkey using non-government funds.

This year around 106,550 students from 163 countries have applied for the Turkey Scholarship Program, up sharply from 8,000 applicants in 2011.

Source: Anadolu Agency