Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Berlin Başkonsolosluğu

Konuşma Metinleri

Viadrina Avrupa Üniversitesi Konuşması, Frankfurt-Oder, 30.04.2009

Frankfurt Oder, 30.04.2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. President, Distinguished Scholars and Dear Students,

I am honored to be invited to such an august event here in Frankfurt Oder.

I would like to thank the organizers of the Turkey Day in Europe University Viadrina in Frankfurt Oder. Such events will help us to bridge existing gaps between our societies and academia.

I am asked to contribute to the discussion on the Turkish-German Higher Education Cooperation, which I will be gladly doing with my subsequent statement.

Turkish-German higher education cooperation has a long history, which was initiated during the Ottoman times. Germany was one of the European countries where Ottomans sent students for higher education.

This cooperation took a new dimension when hundreds of academics from Germany sought refuge in Turkey in the 1930’s, where they contributed to the development of modern Turkish Universities, which are regarded as the main locomotives of Turkish modernization. Some of these German academics stayed in Turkey for a long time, and those who returned back to Germany after the II. World War helped creation of stronger bonds between Turkey and Germany. And we are proud of that tradition.

Please allow me to briefly touch upon certain specific issues and I will start with Ernst Reuter Initiative.

You would remember that the Honorable Mr. Ernst Reuter, who fled Germany to settle in Turkey in the II. World War period, became adviser to the Turkish Government and after his return to Germany he became Mayor of Berlin.

Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Germany decided to call the joint academic initiative between Turkey and Germany as the Ernst Reuter Initiative for his memory.

With the Ernst Reuter Initiative, both Turkish and German sides aim to enhance cooperation through mentoring model projects, in particular in the fields of youth exchange and academia.

The Initiative is designed to raise public awareness and support for campaigns, ideas, projects and programs that help achieve its goals of cultural dialogue.

The culture of dialogue can only bring success in the dialogue between cultures if the worlds of politics, business, culture and the media, academia and civil society work together hand in hand.

Youth exchange

The aim of the "youth exchange" is to tackle prejudices against other cultures at an early age. Projects that bring young people together, for example through school partnerships, are thus of particular significance. It is also aiming at academics to work together on how the countries are portrayed in school textbooks.

EU exchange programs are also indirectly contributing to Turkish-German academic cooperation, by providing scholarships to thousands of Turkish and German students to study in our respective countries.

Academic cooperation

Academics in both countries have key roles in existing and envisaged projects, such as the cooperation project between the Humboldt University in Berlin and the Middle Eastern Technical University Ankara in the sphere of social sciences, the establishment of a visiting professorship at the theological faculty at Ankara University, and the efforts to establish a German-Turkish university in Turkey.

Turkish-German University

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and German counterpart Frank-Walter Stei