Turkey and Russia are exploring the idea of setting up a joint university to boost academic exchanges between the two countries.
Media reports suggested that the matter would be discussed during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's upcoming visit to Russia in April. According to the Turkish media, the university could be based in Istanbul or Antalya, a Mediterranean city popular with Russian tourists. The university would offer programs in physics, chemistry and computer technology, with a curriculum prepared by Russian academics. Turkish academics, on the other hand, would be responsible for the departments of agriculture, sociology and medicine. The university would offer courses in both Turkish and Russian and will have an academic exchange program.
İsmail Safi, a member of the Turkish Presidency's Council of Security and Foreign Policies, told a Turkish-Russian forum yesterday that a proposal on the university has been submitted to Erdoğan. "The president, as well as the business sector, has attached a lot of importance to the idea," he said.
Relations between Turkey and Russia have gained new momentum in recent years, with unprecedented improvement in the military, political and economic cooperation. However, cooperation in education has not been very high, save for a student training program in Russia for the future staff at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is being jointly built by the two countries.
Rector of Ankara University Erkan İbiş, speaking at the same event, said there should be more Russian students in Turkish universities and vice versa. "There is also a need for joint studies. Ankara University will take steps to that end with language courses and joint activities for Turkish and Russian students," İbiş added.
Professor Inna Shevchenko, vice president of Russia's Southern Federal University, said Russia was ready to share its scientific experience with Turkey and supply learning equipment. "We have started taking concrete steps and we thank Turkey for its enthusiasm," Shevchenko said.