By Duygu Yener
More than 500 international alumni who graduated from Turkish universities will gather in Istanbul on Saturday, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Friday, Cavusoglu said the event would be the first in Turkey to gather ministers, lawmakers, doctors, engineers, academics and businessmen from around the world who had completed their graduate or upper graduate studies in Turkey.
“I believe that, rather being an ordinary reunion of graduates, the program will be a platform where many areas, including international relations, politics, law, economics, arts and literature will be evaluated,” he said.
Around 150,000 alumni from around 160 countries have graduated from Turkish universities so far, said Cavusoglu underlining that most of them became successful in their own countries or a third country.
They are serving their own countries or a third country in very high positions, Cavusoglu added: "Our graduates serve their countries at the highest level as there are parliamentary chairs, MPs, ambassadors, doctors and practically every profession.”
He stated the event in Istanbul would offer a platform where cooperation from international relations to politics, from education to health care, from tourism to trade could be discussed.
“The graduates will be able to make different collaborations here. They could share their own projects with others, and perhaps they could find an area they will benefit from. It will be a perfect venue for public diplomacy,” he added.
Along with these graduates an additional of 7,500 international students are graduating from Turkish universities every year, he added.
The event also provides an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration to the alumni as many local NGOs, universities and other institutions will open their stalls at the event venue.
The alumni reunion in the Turkey’s biggest city is organized by the presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), which runs the Turkish scholarship program for international students.
In recent years, Turkey become a popular destination for international students -- both for scholarship holders and the self-financed students.
According to latest data from the YTB a total of 16,817 foreign students study in Turkish universities on a scholarship provided by the government. However, those who obtain education in Turkey by their own means is more than 100,000.