Turkish board asks Russia to leave education ties intact

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Turkish education board says it is sad that Russia has decided to suspend or cancel bilateral agreements between 44 higher education institutions

ANKARA – Turkey’s higher education board has called on Russia to not allow tensions between the countries to impact bilateral agreements in the education sector.

In a written statement released Wednesday, the Turkish board, known locally by its initials YOK, said: “We would like it to be known that we will continue to show hospitality [to Russian students] because of our Turkish noble heartedness today as well as just like we did yesterday and we will be doing the same tomorrow”.

The Turkish board also welcomed remarks of Russian Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov, who said there will be no sanctions against Turkish students studying in Russia; however, the board expressed its surprise and sadness over another statement from the same Russian ministry, which said that bilateral education agreements between 44 higher education institutions will be cancelled or suspended and Russian exchange students in Turkey will also be called back.

“We do not find it right that tensions between the two countries are leaving an impact on education [sector],” the statement said.

Since the downing of a Russian warplane that violated Turkey’s airspace near the Syrian border on Nov. 24, Russia has announced a wide range of sanctions against Turkey.

Among the sanctions imposed by Moscow is the end of a visa-free travel agreement between the two countries and a ban on Turkish food products. Russia has also called on its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination. 

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