Untitled Document

The Ottoman Empire had lost its superiority in science starting from the twelfth century and the regression in science and technology started to make itself felt by the defeats in the military field starting from the eighteenth century. The inadequacy in the subjects of science and technology was felt during the last twenty-five years of the eighteenth century and schools of engineering and artillery and military medical schools were established.

Teachers were brought from the West and students were sent to the West during this period. Robert College, providing education in English, was established in 1863 and Galatasaray High School, providing education in French, was established in 1868. In 1900, Darulfunun-u Sahane, the first university of the Ottoman Empire, was established. This institution, which was composed of the departments of Theology, Sciences, Mathematics, Literature, Law and Medicine, was later restructured with the assistance of German educators after 1908. The Republic of Turkey which was founded in 1923 inherited one university and seven educational institutions from the Ottoman Empire.

Many new schools and universities have been established during the Republic Period. Turkey, which inherited this belatedness of the Ottoman Empire in science and technology, is expending intensive efforts both to close this gap and to catch up with the changes of the new age.

The first university reform was realized in 1933, in the tenth year of the Republic, with the contributions of the German scientists who came to Turkey to escape from Nazi Germany. The objective of this reform, which went into effect with Law No. 2252, was to raise the activities of education, training, science and research to a contemporary level. This law is accepted as the beginning of the scientific activities and science education in its modern perception in Turkey.

Darulfunun was closed within this framework and transformed into Istanbul University. This was followed by the establishment of other universities and many Research and Development institutions, especially in the fields of agriculture and forestry. The Chairman- ship of Refik Saydam Hifzissihha (Public Health) Center was established in 1928, the Sugar Institute in 1932 and the General Directorate of Mineral Exploration and Research and the Electric Affairs Studies Administration were established in 1935.

The most important development in the field of science and research was the establishment of the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) in 1963, during the transition to the planned economy period in the 1960s. Ankara and Cekmece Nuclear Research and Education Centers, connected to the Turkish Atomic Energy Commission, are also important research and development institutions established in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, new organizations were established in the fields of science and research. The first of these was the promulgation of the Higher Education Council (YOK) Law in 1981, which envisaged the restructuring of the universities. In 1983, the Supreme Board of Science and Technology was established connected to the Prime Ministry. This formed an important step for the determination, direction and coordination of the research and development policies in Turkey.

The Supreme Board of Science and Technology is the organ to determine the highest level policies in the Turkish science and technology system. It is composed of the related ministers and the representatives of the related organizations under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Among the main duties of the Supreme Board are to assist the Government for the determination of the long-term science and technology policies, for the determination of research and development goals, for the determination of the priority fields for research and development and for the appointment of research and development organizations in accordance with the research and development plans and programs.

The establishment of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) and the Turkish Patent Institute in 1993 are among important developments in the 1990s. TUBA, which is an organization connected to the Prime Ministry, has a juristic personality and scientific, administrative and financial autonomy, was established with the aim of helping to raise the scientific research standards in Turkey to the international level.

This institution, which has provided great services for the development of scientific research, is also engaged in activities for orienting youth towards scientific and research subjects and awards those who expend efforts in these fields. In 1995, some important legal arrangements were made on the subject of protecting intellectual property rights and decrees having the force of law were promulgated concerning the protection of patent rights, industrial designs, geographical signs and brands.

In addition, a decree was promulgated in 1995 that envisages state assistance to the research and development projects carried out by industrial organizations. In accordance with this decree, which provides extensive opportunities to industrial organizations engaged in research and development activities, close to 50 percent of the expenses for research and development projects can be paid by the state without being repaid and for the remaining 50 percent, the industrial organization can obtain financial support and repay this amount on its real value if it succeeds in commercializing the product it develops.