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Emulating Erasmus? Turkey’s Mevlana exchange program in higher education


In today’s world, globalization and internationalization of education necessitate new initiatives to catch the new era. Turkey, as a country in between the east and the west, attempts to do so through its recent exchange program in higher education. Interestingly, Turkey’s Mevlana exchange program as an ambitious project in higher education denotes an instance of policy transfer: taking the EU model (i.e., Erasmus) and slightly adjusting it to the national circumstances. This article unpacks Turkey’s Mevlana program to demonstrate the process of policy transfer by focusing on different questions posed within the policy transfer literature. It argues that Mevlana is drawn from Erasmus, and it is created as a tool of soft power that is increasingly exercised by Turkey due to its changing focus within the Turkish foreign policy of 2000s.

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  1. Bologna process is an initiative that aims to create a European Area for Higher Education through harmonization of European higher education systems.

  2. Farabi exchange program is a student and academic staff exchange program in higher education among Turkish universities.


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Correspondence to Gözde Yılmaz.

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Yılmaz, G. Emulating Erasmus? Turkey’s Mevlana exchange program in higher education. Asia Eur J 17, 145–159 (2019).

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  • Erasmus
  • Exchange
  • Higher education
  • Mevlana
  • Policy transfer
  • Turkey