YTB Chairman Kemal Yurtnaç explains that they began offering scholarships in 1992 to students from the Turkish Republics in Central Asia. Ever since the YTB was founded in 2010 Yurtnaç says, they have been looking into scholarship systems in 70 different countries and have received advice from 11 universities, information which they will use to restructure the scholarship system.
Mentioning that at present, there are 11,000 foreign students receiving their higher education in Turkey, Yurtnaç says that their goal for the 2012-2013 school year is to bring 3,750 students to Turkey. Yurtnaç explains that there are students from 138 different countries studying in Turkey and they now have the capacity to offer scholarships to 11,000 of them. Scholarships start out at 350 TL monthly for undergraduate students, 450 TL for graduate students and 500 TL per month are offered in the form of scholarships to doctorate students. Yurtnaç explains that they are planning to increase these figures starting in the 2012-2013 school year, up to 500 TL for undergrads, 750 for graduate students and 1000 TL for doctorate students.
"We need to make Turkey a center for education in the world in terms of both opportunities as well as grants. We will also be purchasing one ticket a year for every student that comes to study in Turkey from abroad, in order to assist them in visiting their native countries. This in itself will cost approximately ten million liras."
Yurtnaç also explains plans to open up a number of coordination offices in different countries in order to provide guidance for students from abroad. "We are opening these offices in order to inform students of Turkey's history and culture and also to offer career guidance. We will also be bringing on new projects. Basically these offices will act as a bridge between students' nations and Turkey," states Yurtnaç.
Yurtnaç goes on to explain that the majority of foreign students in Turkey come from Turkic republic nations in Central Asia, with students from Azerbaijan topping the list. Yurtnaç says that this year a number of students came from African nations, which is a trend they hope to bring into the next year.
"Education is the best way to access different nations. When students educated in Turkey return to their nations they do so harboring a continuous relationship with this nation, based on a love for this country. This is something everyone wants."
The problem for Turks living abroad
Yurtnaç went on to mention that the biggest problem for the approximate six million Turks that live abroad in 155 different countries is the issue of dual citizenship. Explaining that President Abdullah Gül's approval on a new regulation now allows for Turks to easily vote abroad. Yurtnaç states, "Turks who have lived abroad for 50 years, were having a hard time voting from where they were located. They would have to drive 3,000 kilometers to vote at customs. This issue has now been lifted. From the upcoming election onwards, Turkish citizens will be able to vote at the closest consulates located nearest them."