Germany and Turkey gave the green light on Friday for a German-Turkish University based in Istanbul. In Berlin, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, together with the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, signed an agreement between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on the foundation of a German-Turkish University in Turkey. The traditionally close cooperation between Germany and Turkey in the academic sphere has thus gained a new dimension. The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research will be working together closely on this project.
Federal Minister Steinmeier said during the signing ceremony:
"I'm pleased that the German-Turkish University will soon become a reality! It will not only bring our students and academics closer together but will also serve as another symbol of the excellent political and social relations between our two countries. This would not have been possible without the staunch support of our Turkish friends. I would therefore like to thank my colleague Ali Babacan for his strong commitment to this project. And I would also like to thank the former Foreign Minister and current President, Abdullah Gül. This project was very important to him, too!"
Federal Minister Schavan said at the signing on Friday:
"The German-Turkish University marks the start of a new phase in our cooperation. It is an important step towards the further development of the international higher education area. Academia and business should benefit equally from this landmark in relations between our countries."
The University's special hallmark is its intercultural German-Turkish courses. This includes the possibility to gain German degrees and to take German classes. Another outstanding feature will be the University's intensive cooperation with Turkish and German business. The German-Turkish University is aiming to meet the increasing demand for well-trained specialists in Turkey, whose economy is experiencing dynamic growth. Germany is one of Turkey's key trading partners.
The plan is to establish a state Turkish university in Istanbul, initially with four faculties: law, natural sciences, economics, cultural and social sciences, as well as engineering. It is intended to offer Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees. These qualifications, as well as the curricula and their quality assurance, are to be based on the principles of the Bologna Process. The university hopes to attract outstanding students from both Turkey and Germany. It is to target graduates of grammar schools in Turkey in which German is the language of tuition or which have German programmes, as well as for German and Turkish graduates of grammar schools in Germany.
The Turkish side will provide land, buildings and infrastructure and assume the recurring costs. German contributions will include the secondment of senior and junior lecturers, the development of curricula, material for the establishment of a language centre, allowances to supplement local salaries, scholarships, as well as further-training measures. These measures will be financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a consortium of German universities, which is currently being formed, will be responsible for the cooperation and the German contributions. The next steps will be a meeting of experts in Turkey as well as the establishment of the German university consortium.