YÖK President Declares Türkiye’s Higher Education a Beacon of Inclusivity at OMU Ceremony: “The Seeds of Xenophobia Do Not Grow in This Land.”
14 May 2024, Tuesday - 17:38
Updated: 14 May 2024, Tuesday - 17:38
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Academic Meeting and Award Ceremony Held at OMU

Ondokuz Mayıs University (OMU) held the 'Academic Meeting and Award Ceremony' to honor the contributions of academicians and student communities who received awards under the 2023 Academic Award and Incentive Directive. The event, organized at OMU Atatürk Congress and Culture Center, was attended by the President of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Prof. Dr. Erol Özvar, Samsun Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Sabri Kılıç, YÖK Executive Board Member Prof. Dr. Naci Gündoğan, OMU Rector Prof. Dr. Yavuz Ünal, Samsun University Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Aydın, OMU Vice Rectors Prof. Dr. Selim Eren, Prof. Dr. Sevim Alışır, Prof. Dr. Murat Terzi, General Secretary Prof. Dr. İdris Varıcı, heads of public institutions and organizations, academicians, and numerous students.

In his address, Özvar pointed out the distinctive features of the Turkish higher education system, noting its accessibility for university candidates and inclusivity for scholars. He highlighted that the global trend over the past 30-40 years has been an increasing number of high school graduates seeking university education. "This is not unique to Türkiye. It is a global trend. The Republic of Türkiye has responded to this trend in a timely manner, completing all necessary infrastructure to offer these services to students, making it one of the few countries to do so," he stated. Özvar also emphasized that Turkish universities have opened their doors to international academicians whose freedom of expression was restricted due to democratic protests against the massacres in Gaza. He credited the significant investments in higher education during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's tenure for this increased accessibility and inclusivity.

"190 Countries and 350,000 International Students in Türkiye"

Özvar highlighted that Türkiye’s higher education system serves as an example to the world, with its open doors to all youth wishing to study and succeed in higher education. He mentioned that the system's inclusivity is not limited to Turkish citizens but extends to international students who meet the necessary criteria and have the means to study here.

"Today, there are nearly 350,000 international students in Türkiye, coming from over 190 countries to build their future here," Özvar said. He expressed the goal of further increasing the number of international students in the coming years. "More than 95% of international students study here through their own means. The share of those who receive scholarships from Türkiye is no more than three to four percent. Therefore, most international students fund their education themselves," he added.

"These Lands are Closed to Xenophobia"

Özvar warned of a recent dangerous trend of xenophobia being instigated in Türkiye, mainly targeting international students. "This is a dangerous campaign against Türkiye. This trend is not native. I want to warn you that the seeds of xenophobia do not grow in this land. These lands are closed to xenophobia," he declared.

"Our Doors are Open to International Students and Academicians"

He emphasized that Turkish society knows how to live with different cultures and civilizations and derives its strength from this. "We have seen people from different cultures and races as human beings like ourselves. If they have lived, worked, and strived like us, and aimed to serve our country as we do, we have known how to live with them. With this ancient understanding, our doors are open to international students and academicians, and we are a country that attracts their interest. We are members of a civilization that tolerates diversity, sees it as a wealth, and knows how to manage it," Özvar concluded.

The program ended with the protocol members presenting plaques and certificates of appreciation to award-winning academicians and student communities.

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