A Turkish student was rejected from a research internship at Stockholm University. The Swedish professor cited the ongoing NATO conflict as the reason.
– Since Turkey does not allow Sweden to join NATO, I have to decline. Sorry!
Early last fall, a Turkish student from the İbn Haldun University in Istanbul, was accepted to the Erasmus+ Program at a University of her choice for the summer of 2023. She applied for a research internship within the field of clinical psychology at Stockholm University. She was however rejected due to reasons related to Turkey’s interference in Sweden’s ongoing NATO bid. SVT reports that she received the following reply from the professor in question: “I would love to host you. However, since Turkey does not allow Sweden to join NATO, I have to decline. Sorry!”
In response, the student filed a formal complaint of discrimination with the university and went public with the information. As such, Stockholm University has issued a press release stating that the professor “expressed himself in an unprofessional and unacceptable manner” and that they have handled the issue according to their internal routines. They also state that “the employee in question is deeply regretful” and that they “do not accept discrimination on any ground.” They have also “urgently apologized to the person” and have offered their aid in securing another internship at their university.
However, in an interview with the Andalou Agency, a Turkish state-run news outlet, the student alleges that there has been no evidence of any action taken against the professor. Furthermore, while the Head of the department issued a formal apology to her, the professor himself has not. İbn Haldun University has stressed the need for “necessary measures so that other students who apply from Türkiye do not encounter similar attitudes.”
Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also gotten involved; he expressed his disappointment that a political matter has impacted a student’s future and that the incident “is a bad example of the use of education in politics.”
Lundagård reached out to the professor at Stockholm University who refused further comment and pointed to the press statement issued by the university.