ANKARA, Turkey/JAKARTA, Indonesia

Free internet data, better and free health care system coupled with the continuation of their scholarship program has helped Indonesian students to continue pursuing their education in Turkey even under the lockdown enforced by the pandemic.

Praising Turkey’s measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Darlis Aziz, a graduate student in Media and Cultural Studies at Hacettepe University in Ankara, said since the detection of first pandemic case on March 10, the emergency measures have borne fruits.

He said Turkey’s efforts to help them to continue pursuing education was a remarkable step.

Although there are no typical classroom lectures, the government’s decision to provide 8GB internet free every month to all students broke the digital barriers and helped them to hook to online classrooms.

“This is to support the online learning system during the pandemic,” Aziz added.

Besides online education, he said they also experienced Turkey’s easy and convenient health care system.

Aziz said foreign students are also entitled to get health insurance and get free health checkups, treatment, and shuttle services during the pandemic.

“Some international student associations like the Federation of International Student Body also provided food assistance during the lockdown.”

He noted the key to Turkey’s remarkable fight against COVID19 was marked with four slogans, early measure, effective application, effective fighting, and quick decision.

“I saw how a person’s life is highly valued by the country’s officials, more than their position,” he added.

Muhammad Haykal, a graduate student in Islamic History at Marmara University in Istanbul, said the network of hospitals has helped Turkey to combat the pandemic easily.

Logistics, food supplies stable

“It could be seen in the many city hospitals that have been built over the past two decades, to ensure the health of citizens,” Haykal told Anadolu Agency.

As an international student, he also found logistics and food supplies relatively stable, even during these difficult times.

He further said that unlike in many other countries, health workers were not ostracized but praised for their work by Turkish people.

“Once I had to go for grocery shopping and I did not have a mask, then a supermarket clerk gave me a free mask,” he said, recalling help his community received from ordinary Turkish citizens.

Indonesian Ambassador to Turkey Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said in a statement last week that the Turkish government has assured the continuation of scholarship program for Indonesian students.

Turkey is also providing healthcare treatment for Indonesian students, including suspected cases of COVID-19, at par with Turkish citizens.

Indonesia’s top diplomat in Ankara said a student with high temperature and a suspected pandemic case was attended immediately by the health care officials.

Soon we informed them, they immediately picked him in an ambulance and was taken to a referral hospital for testing and treatment, he said.

“Thankfully, the test results showed him negative and the student was allowed to go home without having to pay anything,” Iqbal added.

* Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo and Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service.

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