Stockholm University apologizes for rejection of student due to Turkey’s NATO stance

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Stockholm University has announced that it has apologized for an employee’s “unprofessional and unacceptable” response to a Turkish student’s request for an internship at the university due to Turkey’s stance on Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

According to Turkish media reports, Professor Per Carlbring from Stockholm University in late November rejected an internship request from Fatma Zehra S., a third-year undergraduate student in the psychology department at Ibn Haldun University in İstanbul who was accepted by an Erasmus+ fund for a summer 2023 internship at a university of her choosing.

“I would love to host you. However, since Turkey does not allow Sweden to join NATO, I have to decline. Sorry!” Carlbring reportedly said in an e-mail sent to the student.

The university on Monday released a statement on its website, saying that an employee expressed himself “in an unprofessional and unacceptable manner” and that as soon as they learned about it they acted and handled it “according to our routines.”

“The employee in question is deeply regretful and realizes that he handled this issue incorrectly,” the university said, noting that they also urgently apologized to the student and had offered her help in December in trying to find another internship at the university.

Sweden and Finland broke with decades of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members that still must ratify the Nordic countries’ applications.

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden, in particular, of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists” as well as some political dissidents and has refrained from ratifying their NATO bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

The country has set the extradition of what it deems as terrorists from Sweden and Finland as a precondition for the approval of both countries’ NATO memberships.

Source: Turkish Minute

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