Memorandum from the United Kingdom Council
of Turkish Students' Societies
1. The United Kingdom Council of Turkish
Students' Societies (UKCTSS), founded in 1997, is an independent
student-led institution gathering more than 50 Turkish and Turkic
Societies in British higher education institutions. We aim to
establish and develop academic and cultural co-operation and communication
among the British and Turkish higher educational institutions
2. UKCTSS has been recognised by numerous
private and official Turkish and British institutions including
the Turkish Embassy in London, British Council and Turkish Educational
3. We have recently become aware that the
Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has been undertaking
an inquiry into the United Kingdom's relations with Turkey.
4. We believe that youth related subjects
should take a significant part of your committee's report since
the future of both Anglo-Turkish and Turkey-EU relations rely
5. More than six thousand Turkish students
are studying or conducting research in British higher education
institutions. Student members of our member societies include
both British citizens of Turkish origin and Turkish students who
came to Britain to proceed with their higher education and/or
6. As you would appreciate education pays
off not only during the education itself but also afterwards.
We have observed that sharing the same education and research
environments provides invaluable opportunities for mutual understanding.
Exchange of first hand information about our countries, peoples,
histories and cultures as well as technological and scientific
information would inevitably avoid mutual misunderstandings, misconceptions
and disinformation between our countries. Obviously avoiding those
would provide better and smoother relations between Turkey and
7. The Turkish Community in the United Kingdom
is becoming more integrated and intertwined with British society.
However, we have to face that the educational level of Turkish
Community in the UK is lower than the overall British level. Promoting
and/or supporting the promotion of education, especially higher
education, in the Turkish community in the UK will enable more
people to attend university and will eventually yield to strengthen
and accelerate the integration of Turkish Community to the British
society. This would also make a positive impact in Anglo-Turkish
8. Turkish students living in the UK during
their higher education also play similar roles in Anglo-Turkish
relations. Meeting another culture and living in it should not
only be considered as a personal benefit for those students. Most
of the students and researchers would transfer their experiences
to vast numbers of people when they come to hold key academic
and managerial positions in Turkey.
9. The contribution of Turkish researchers
and scientists as well as professionals living and researching
in the UK is a known fact in academic and professional circles.
Both Turkey and the UK would benefit from inter-university research,
parallel/common degree/research programs, and co-operation in
education, research, science and technology. We are sure that
Turkish youth is ready to contribute to science and technology
with their British fellows.
10. Turkey, a secular, democratic and Muslim
country, has been aiming at contemporary civilisations since the
proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Such a unique example
in Muslim world is considered as a model for the rest. We think
that we need more co-operation than ever to clarify minds of Muslims
about Christians and vice versa. Turkey is the best state to start
with such an intensive relation towards mutual understanding of
religions , and youth is the best group to begin with.
11. Given all these positive aspects and
great promises for the future an essential obstacle exists between
British and Turkish students considering higher education in the
UK. Turkish students' fees are at least three times more than
British, EU or Commonwealth students' fees. Such an unfair discrepancy
forces Turkish students to seek different education opportunities
around the world. Even grant provider institutions have been reluctant
to support students planning to study or research British institutions.
As a candidate of EU, as a Customs Union country, as a close British
ally, as a European country, it is quite unpleasant to see that
unnamed indirect exclusion policy is in force for Turkish students.
12. We suggest the committee consider the
possibility of proposing that government make relevant changes
to make British institutions apply EU-rate university fees to
13. Moreover, we suggest the committee consider
the possibility of promoting and proposing that the government
take relevant action to provide extra means for Anglo-Turkish
student exchange, visit programmes, research activities.
14. We hope that the United Kingdom's constructive
efforts would be improved with the launch of your committee's
report especially considering Turkish and British youths. This
would pay off by establishing stronger links between Turkey and
the United Kingdom. Such a positive attitude would absolutely
support the development of EU-Turkey relationship as well.
United Kingdom Council of Turkish Students' Societies