Experts have called on Turkey to become a full member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which aims to observe dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter – a substance that is believed by researchers to make up most of the universe. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) in Istanbul after a technology conference on Monday, Hakan Kızıltoprak, the CERN industrial liaison officer for Turkey, said full membership in the nuclear research organization would open doors for Turkish companies focusing on advanced technology.
Kızıltoprak said full membership for Turkey, which is currently an associate member of CERN, would also enable the country to see what it lacks in terms of studying space, biomedicine and nanotechnology. "Once [Turkish firms] see what they have, and have not, been able to do [in these fields], then they will begin to do it," Kızıltoprak said. While Turkish nationals, including scientists and students, currently have the eligibility to apply for jobs at CERN, full membership would increase the number of people that can apply and give Turkey the power to make decisions. "Member states pay for a certain fraction of the budget and this is spent to pay the salary of the people involved; therefore, Turkish citizens would be able to get jobs at CERN," said Giovanni Anelli, a knowledge transfer group leader at CERN.
In March, Istanbul Bilgi University became CERN's project coordinator at the national level, an effort that will advance scientific and technological fields in the country, according to the project's coordinator Serkant Ali Çetin, who announced the details of the collaboration at a press conference on the university's campus on April 13. Full CERN membership costs 40 million Swiss Francs ($40.3 million) per year for a member state, while an associate membership costs 4 million Swiss Francs, according to Çetin. There are currently 21 countries that are full member states of CERN, including Austria, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. In 2012, experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Geneva concluded that they had discovered a new particle, the Higgs Boson. Physicists Francois Englert and Peter Higgs were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles."