Thursday, 23 October 2008, 02:19 GMT
Despite tensions, first Turkish university opens in Kurdistan

Prof. Salih Hosoglu, president of Ishik University. GLOBE PHOTO/Qassim Khidhir

The Globe- Erbil

Students of all ethnicities come together for an education.

"Granting a license for this university to open in Kurdistan is a sign
Of good will from Kurdistan Region Government." Turkish Ishik University
President.

Ishik University is a private university belonging to Turkish Fezalar Educational Institutions. Fezalar in 1994 opened its first school in Erbil city when Turkey and Kurdistan Region had a very strong relationship.
Now in Kurdistan Region, it has one university, four colleges, three primary schools, and one kindergarten school. In the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk, it has two colleges.
The general director of Fezalar Education Company, Talip Buyuk, said there is no political reason behind opening this university and the colleges and schools are strengthening friendship among the students.
"In our colleges in Kirkuk, we have Kurdish, Turkmen, and Arab students and they study in the same class," said Buyuk.
Up to now, 788 students have graduated in Fezelar's colleges and schools in Kurdistan, and now they have 3,419 students.
Twenty of the graduates are now studying in Turkey in the departments of international relations, computer engineering, economy, and management, said Buyuk.
He said Kurdistan Region Government supports his educational activities, and his company has close relations with the region's educational units.
"The Kurdistan government supports us in all ways to perform educational goals. One of the main reasons behind the boost of our institution is the support of the government."
In Ishik University, which opened October 21, in the first year students study English and Turkish languages, but the studying language of the university is English. The university has the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, physics, and engineering. The university will accept 50 students for each department and each student pays US$3,500 for the first year; for the other three years, each student should pay between US$3,500 to US$5,000 every year depending on the department in which the student studies.
Prof. Salih Hosoglu, the president of Ishik University, said the university accepts students from all over Iraq as well as other countries.
When The Kurdish Globe asked Prof. Hosoglu whether the university accepts Kurdish students in Turkey, Prof. Hosoglu smiled and replied: "We accept students from everywhere, and in Turkey it is not written on the personal identification card that the person is Kurdish."
On October 14, Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani met with a Turkish delegation headed by Murad Ozcelik, chief of Iraqi affairs of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The two sides exchanged opinions on reorganizing bilateral relations and solving issues between Turkey and Kurdistan Region.
Finding an absolute solution to the PKK issue was also a prime part of the discussions.
"We have opened a new page in relations on both sides," said Ozcelik in a press conference held after the Baghdad meeting. He also pointed out that the meeting was positive and they will do everything for the success of the negotiations.
This is the first official meeting between Kurdistan Region and Turkey since June 2004 when President Massoud Barzani met with Osman Koruturk.