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In the frame of negotiations for Turkey’s membership in the EU, the Jean Monnet Scholarships Programme (JMSP) was launched in 1990, to build up a pool of experts in EU-related issues and support the country’s capacity to effectively meet preconditions for attaining a full membership status. The European Union funded JMSP, specifically dedicated to providing Turkish scholars with mobility and educational opportunities in EU-member states, has now become a casualty in the midst of turbulent relations with the Union.
This August, Turkish authorities announced the cancellation of the scholarships for the academic year 2016-17, to mitigate reputational effects that internal country developments could have on the programme, bringing to a halt one of the eldest education-cooperations with the EU. It is important to distinguish that, counter to beliefs circulating in media the last months, this cancellation relates solely to the dedicated JMSP for outgoing mobility of Turkish scholars - jointly managed by the Ministry of EU affairs and the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey- and does not take effect on the Jean Monnet actions within the Erasmus+ programme. The currently temporary end of the Turkey-JMSP, nevertheless, does leave potential applicants who saw a future in the programme and its funding stranded.
The JMSP last saw a significant increase in funding of 10 million by the European Commission (under the MEDA II programme) for the period 2002-2006, boosting the number of scholars to around 360 beneficiaries. According to the News source EurActiv, in 2015-16 there were around 230 recipients, with a projected 170 scholars to take advantage of funding in the next round, which have now been cut off from mobility opportunities for 2016-17.
After 26 years in the running the JMSP has contributed to EU integration of Turkey and the program’s revival can only be aspired, carrying forward its mission to raise a pool of young scholars that may act as a bridge in the future.Delegation of the European Union to Turkey – press release