20 Eylül 2011 Salı

New Turkey's Intellectual Power Should Be Based On Anatolian Universities

Though having many problems related to authoritarian tendencies and leader-based political culture, Turkey has been gradually transforming from an introvert small size country into a middle size regional power. This transformation was concretized and based on three main pillars; democratic consolidation on the political scene, free-market reforms and integration into global economy on the economics side and finally increasing number of universities and intellectual accumulation on the academic area.

It is a fact that in order to become a regional power, Turkish universities (especially in the field of social sciences) have to change their academic curriculum and mentality focusing solely on local/national history teaching in addition to early 2000’s “a la mode” -now a bit out of fashion- European studies and to catch the standards of multi-dimensional Turkish foreign policy. This could be done by establishing new research centers as well as new master and doctoral programs not only focusing on European Union, but also specializing on Middle East, Eurasia, Balkans and Africa, geographies that are neighboring Turkey. Justice and Development Party in its 9 years of government established many universities nearly in all cities of the country. For sure, these universities have many deficiencies for reaching the standards of Western academia but still the very establishment of them could easily help the country to produce necessary intellectual knowledge in the near future for becoming a regional power, being aware of the developments and intentions around the world and especially around itself. These universities, if they could become specialized in certain areas that are in conformity with local potentials and values and conformably to a grand master plan, could even trigger the birth of an “Anatolian Renaissance”.

This could be a dream for many, but as once Walt Disney said; “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”.

Ozan Örmeci

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