Skip to main content

Beyond Erasmus

Education, Exchanges and Employment opportunities for youth in the EU and Turkey

Phase III

All good things must come to an end they say, and the same rule applies to our “Beyond Erasmus” project – at least for now! In between 30th of March and 4th of April, the European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) team along with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) team in Turkey traveled and organised three lectures in Adana, Eskisehir and Samsun. The series of lectures were part of the 3rd and final phase of the hybrid training programme “Beyond Erasmus: Education, Exchanges and Employment opportunities for youth in the EU and Turkey” which started during November 2021.

After the successful networking trip in Brussels, the Beyond Erasmus fellows, namely, Cem, Sinan, Cagla, Ecenur, Mathilde, Katharina, and Selen were called to share their views and experiences during three lectures in public academic institutions across Turkey. They shared their Erasmus exchange experience, explained the benefits of such programmes – including networking opportunities – and the rationale behind their participation in the Beyond Erasmus project with students from Çukurova University (Adana), Eskisehir Osmangazi and Anadolu Universities (Eskisehir) and Ondokuz Mayıs University (Samsun).

First Stop: Adana

During the lectures the focus was on EU – Turkey relations, each time shedding light into a different aspect. At Çukurova University, the keynote presentation by Ali Yaras, energy and sustainability expert, was dedicated to climate change and environmental policies. Mr. Yaras talked, among other things, about key environmental treaties, the significance of the ratification of the Paris agreement by Turkey and what it means for Turkish producers and subsequently for consumers. Considering the ongoing war in Ukraine, he also highlighted the importance of investing more on renewables and decrease the country’s energy reliance on fossil fuels.

Next Destination: Eskisehir

In Eskisehir, digital journalism, fact-checking and digital marketing were in the spotlight. Burak Ütücü, video journalist with the Turkish service of the Independent and founder of Observe Turkey talked about the importance of student-level journalism, the story behind Observe Turkey and shared useful tips about digital journalism. Ezgi Toprak, fact-checker at, in her presentation explained why fact-checking is necessary with practical examples from daily news, and the nexus between education, distrust towards media and fake news. Finally, Ahmet Balat, digital marketing expert and co-founder of Brandok Performance Marketing Agency, spoke about clickbait, what it is, how it works, the connection between clickbait and social media following patterns and shared tips on how to avoid it.

Final Stop: Samsun

The 3rd and final lecture took place on the shores of the Black Sea in the city of Samsun, where for the first time ENC and FNF teams had the chance to interact with academics and students from Ondokuz Mayıs University. In front of an audience of nearly 200 students, Dr. Cigdem Nas, Secretary General at the Economic Development Foundation  (IKV) and Associate Prof. at Yildiz University, had the opportunity to talk about EU – Turkey economic and trade relations.

During the lecture Dr. Nas provided background information about the Customs Union (CU) and how transformative in has been for Turkish economy since 1995. She shed light on why it is essential to renew the CU, why negotiations have been blocked and how to potentially unblock them. Finally, she briefly covered the European Green Deal and its impact on EU – Turkey relations.

The continuous support by local academic institutions in Turkey coupled with high volume formal and informal exchanges among student, our experts and our fellows, showcases the importance of exchange programmes and the need to stay connected, to work together, to share knowledge and ideas at the academic, political, economic and societal level.

The 2021-2022 Beyond Erasmus programme is over, but ENC in cooperation with its long-lasting partners will be back with new innovative programmes to engage with youth and strengthen academic and people-to-people connectivity. Stay tuned…

Leave a Reply