May 29, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The relationship between Turkey and the European Union may be complicated, but the recent announcement by the EU of its proposed 2021-2027 budget indicates a commitment to ongoing exchange: It will double its funding for Erasmus funding to €30 billion. Here’s a closer look at what to expect and why it matters, as reported by the Anadolu Agency (AA).

Beyond Politics

Ties between Turkey and the EU have been strained for political reasons since 2016. Despite this rocky ground,  Erasmus, the popular EU student exchange program, has endured. Said Turkish EU Ministry Undersecretary Selim Yenel at a press conference of Erasmus’s pan-European mobility scheme, “Underneath all these political difficulties, Erasmus kept on going.”

The proposed funding is viewed as a further indication of the EU’s belief in the importance of the project. Continued Yenel, “Turkish-EU relations may go up and down but nevertheless Erasmus has continued strongly, and we believe that it is the most concrete example of cooperation between the two sides.”

International Interest Abound

According to Yenel, the funding supports noteworthy interest. He told AA that thousands of Turkish students have traveled to EU countries through the years and this mobility has flowed both ways.

In particular, Yenel highlights Germany and Poland as significant partners -- with the former as a leading sending country and the latter drawing the largest share of Turkish students.

“Its easier for Germans to come to Turkey as some of them have Turkish backgrounds. I think that Turkey and Germany have special relations that have historical roots. It is interesting on the other side that Turks want to go to Poland. Because Poland is a relatively new member of the EU but I believe that it has been a more welcoming country," said Yenel.

And hopes are high for more of the same moving forward. Concluded Yenel, "We do hope that the numbers will increase for other countries as well. But for now, Germany and Poland are in the lead."

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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