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Turkish universities intend to woo more Chinese students

ISTANBUL, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Some Turkish universities said here on Wednesday that they would expand cooperation with their Chinese counterparts and let more Chinese students study in Turkey.

At an Eurasian international higher education summit held in Istanbul, the representatives of Turkish universities voiced their intentions to increase the number of Chinese students by inking bilateral agreements and seek closer cooperation with Chinese universities.

"China has long been dominating the higher education market in the world and Turkey has a lot to learn from China in that field," said Selman Arslanbas, director of international relations of Aydin University based in Istanbul.

Currently, some 1,000 Chinese students are studying in Turkish universities across the country, a sharp rise over previous years.

Aydin University has signed agreements with Beijing Normal University, South China Normal University and Shanghai University over exchange programs, collective departments and free courses for Turkish and Chinese languages, said Arslanbas.

"Under the sponsorship of the Chinese embassy, we're sending Turkish students, who have been taking courses on Chinese language, to China for free," he noted, adding that these young people will be cultural ambassadors in the future to help develop closer cultural ties between the two societies.

Teck Fai Saputra Chan, a senior Chinese student at Aydin University, said Turkish students "only know the Great Wall of China" and have stereotypes about the Chinese people.

"It is the mission of exchange students to contribute to the elimination of mutual prejudices and stereotypes," he said.

Several Chinese universities also had booths at the higher education summit, presenting opportunities for Turkish students.

Turkey is planning new policies to ease the bureaucratic obstacles for Turkish universities in accepting more foreign students and create more opportunities for them to study in Turkey, Turkish Deputy Minister of National Education Orhan Erdem said at the summit.

The number of universities in Turkey increased to 190 last year from 76 in 2003.

The higher education summit, aiming to boost cooperation in the Eurasian region, drew some 200 higher education institutions and academics from all around the world.

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