The 'Türkiye Scholarships' program is becoming increasingly popular with Indian students, who apply for government-funded university education in Turkey alongside nationals of more than 175 countries, reports said. Participants in the program emphasize the opportunities offered to them by tertiary education in Turkey, the cross-cultural ties generated by the program and its openness regarding different religious orientations.
The Türkiye Scholarships is a program funded by the Turkish government that allows foreign individuals to study at Turkish universities at undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels as well as graduate from additional certificate-level programs, offering allowance, accommodation, tuition and fees, health expenses and Turkish language instruction, if needed. For students with cultural and artistic interests, special study tours are also conducted free of charge. Türkiye Scholarships is one of the most extensive programs of its kind.
The scholarship program was first implemented in the 1990's, covering the Central Asian Turkic Republics, and has since expanded. In 2016 alone, Turkey received 122,000 applications from 175 countries for the program, according to information obtained through the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities.
Over 100 Indian students have received the scholarship since 2012, India's independent news agency IANS reported, which shows that Turkey is becoming an increasingly popular destination with students from the Indian subcontinent.
Mustafa Ujampaaly, PhD student at Ankara University said, "I belong to a farmer's family from south India. It was unthinkable for people like me to come here to Turkey and get a high-quality education. I applied to 'Türkiye scholarships' and I was accepted.".
Another student reassured his compatriots that, contrary to common stereotypes circulating abroad, Turkey is a very tolerant country, stating to media representatives, "There is a misconception propagated by the media that being a Muslim country, Indian students of other religions may face difficulties or many restrictions. But I am living here, and it feels really awesome to be here, in a nice place".
President Erdoğan, who is currently in India, invited students from various parts of the world to come to Turkey before embarking on his trip. "We embrace students from all over the world coming to Turkey", Erdoğan had said. The diplomatic visit of the president to India, which included the bestowal of a Honors Degree upon Erdoğan by Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, is thought to further strengthen academic cooperation between Turkey and India.