More than 5,000 African students reside in Karabük

More than 5,000 African students reside in Karabük

More than 5,000 African students reside in Karabük

After Karabük University in Türkiye’s north came to the public agenda following the alleged murder of a Gabonese student, it has been found that 12,000 students from abroad study at the university, with almost half of them belonging to African countries.

After the lifeless body of Jeannah Danys Dinabongho (Dina), a 17-year-old Gabonese student at Karabük University, was found in the Filyos stream on March 25, Türkiye became more aware of the thousands of Africans that are studying at Karabük University. The university has 12,000 foreign students from 98 different countries and about half of these students are from different countries in Africa.

Africans in Karabük usually live together with students from their own countries and their circle of friends consists of people from the same country. Nearly 90 percent of the African community in Karabük reside in the 100. Yıl neighborhood in the city center.

Yasmine Elfawzat Bandle, 20, one of the students from Cote d’Ivorie who came to Karabük to study civil engineering three years ago, stated that they usually have problems with their Turkish neighbors.

“When our friends come over, the neighbors say mean words to us on the pretext that we make noise. Also, when we walk on the street as a group of girls or on our own, sometimes cars approach us and ask us ‘How much money.’ I suppose they think we are engaged in prostitution and this offends us.”

Prof. Dr. Refik Polat, rector of Karabük University, stated that 5,200 of the 12,000 foreign students are Africans and among them, the largest number of students belong to Chadians.

“We select Chadian students among the top 200 most successful students in Chad. We have an agreement with the president of Chad. They have their own exam and they send the students who are successful in this exam to our university. Many universities in the country accept foreign students, but we have the highest number of foreign students,” Polat said.

In response to the local media’s questions about Dina, African students preferred to remain silent, especially female students stated that they are not interested in talking about the murder.

In addition to African students, locals have also kept mum on the issue. Many people who were interviewed by the media claimed that officials want to cover up the incident.

S.K., a shopkeeper in the city center, has told local media that since Karabük is a small town, everyone knows and hears about the incidents that take place, but they are trying to ignore the fact that a murder was committed in the area. Another shopkeeper stated that as most shops rely on foreign students for their income, no one wants the town to be mentioned negatively in the media as well.