Universities suspend study-abroad programmes in Turkey

Summary

Rectors of all major Flemish universities have expressed concern at the Turkish government’s response to the failed military coup and have halted their study-abroad programmes in the country

Postponed or gone elsewhere

All major Flemish universities have decided to stop sending students to Turkey as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. The measure was taken in the aftermath of the thwarted military coup, the imposition of a state of emergency and the suspension of thousands of education staff in Turkey. Students who were planning to study in the country will now have to either postpone their trip or choose a different destination.

Earlier this month, Ghent University imposed a travel ban on staff and students wanting to travel to Turkey, after a terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. According to the Flemish Interuniversity Council, rectors of all Flemish universities have expressed concern at the Turkish government’s decision to suspend thousands of education staff following the failed military coup. The rectors will now examine their relations with Turkish universities.

The University of Leuven has already suspended programmes in the country indefinitely to guarantee the safety of its students. Rector Rik Torfs has emphasised that the collaboration with Turkish institutions is not going to be terminated. “We are not going to drop people that we have been working with for so many years, certainly not in the current difficult circumstances,” he said.

Hasselt University, which was planning to send about 20 students to Turkey, has also suspended its exchange programme with the country. The Free University of Brussels (VUB) has asked 10 of its students who were planning to study in Turkey in autumn to postpone the trip until the second semester – if the safety situation improves – or choose another country.

Photo courtesy KU Leuven