Keep barren debates out of academia: Turkish president
Turkish President Abdullah Gül speaks during an award ceremony in Ankara hosted by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe scientific world should keep out of unproductive debates and academics should avoid engaging in such barren discussions, Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said, in an obvious reference to the ongoing tension between the government and Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) over students’ protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We should keep our scientists and scientific world out of barren debates. And they should also exert efforts to stay out of these debates. Otherwise we would all lose our motivation and ignore our priorities,” Gül said during his address at an award ceremony hosted by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).
Gül did not elaborate further, simply noting, “We should bring the importance and sensitivity we attach to science to the forefront.”
Highlighting the importance of science and technology in the development of the country, Gül said a fundamental factor for success in this field is providing uninterrupted support and facilitating the scientific world’s work.
Although he was not invited to the ceremony for TÜBİTAK’s launch of Turkey’s first domestically-made satellite, Göktürk-2, Gül praised the scientific institution’s success with pride.
The president said Turkey has become an attractive country for foreign scientists in addition to Turkish scientists who chose to return their homeland following years of academic study abroad. However, Gül pointed out a “secret resistance to foreign academics” in Turkey.
While athletic clubs sign contracts with prominent athletes in all sports fields, Gül said, “I am aware that we have some obstacles before bringing valuable scientists to Turkey. We appreciate the power of muscle but we ignore the power of the brain. I am of the opinion that we should revise our legal and administrative regulations on this issue.”
This year’s TÜBİTAK awards were given to Professor Özlem Keskin Özkaya, Professor Hasan Tayfun Çzçelik and Professor Ziya Öniş.