Russia can’t always be at war with Turkey: at some point, it will have to patch up the relationship. One would think that the Turkish intelligentsia and students should be natural allies for any force opposed to Erdogan’s neo-Islamism and obscurantism.
But Moscow has no qualms abusing and alienating members of those groups. This is not a direct expression of Putin’s ill-will – rather, Putin’s “power vertical” being itself and doing what it’s supposed to do: deal with undesirables.
Today’s Zaman, considered a Gülenist-friendly publication, quotes a Turkish student deported from Voronezh:
The university expelled us two days ago without giving any reason. Our student visas were canceled. We were given exit visas. We could not complete our degrees…
I promised my family that I was going to bring them my diploma. However, the showdown between [Turkey and Russia] burst our bubbles. Turkish students have been exposed to all kinds of humiliation and disrespect here. We were not even able to go to the university itself due to the reactions [from Russian students]. My efforts have gone down the drain…
It looks like anti-Turkish propaganda has found fertile soil in Voronezh if there were hostile “reactions” from Russian students – or is the “human material” rotten? I can’t imagine American students “reacting” to the point that foreign students would fear showing up in class.
From The Daily Sabah, a pro-AKP paper:
Cemalettin Yavuz, a lecturer from Trakya University who attended Russian language classes in the Cuvashia Republic of the Russian Federation where he was pursuing a doctorate degree… was detained for violating the restrictions of his visa by attending Russian classes. He was fined 5,000 rubles ($72.35), banned from entering Russia for five years and was subsequently deported after 12 days in detention. “…I was treated like a criminal. They brought me before a court and I was ordered to stay in detention…”
Attending classes as grounds for visa revocation: I wonder how it worked – did regional immigration authorities get an order from their Moscow superiors to locate and expel a fixed number of Turkish nationals?
On a side note, two-thirds of Chuvashia‘s 1.2 million residents are ethnically Chuvash and Chuvash, a Turkic language, is still widely spoken. The republic is not Muslim, unlike Tatarstan and Bashkortostan: only 3% of its residents self-identify as Muslim.