The warming of relations between Turkey and Israel, which peaked recently with the summit meeting between the President of Israel Yitzhak Herzog and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is now expressed in the academic arena as well. For the first time in about a decade, Tel Aviv University has renewed its academic relations with Turkey, forming ties with three of the country’s leading universities: Koç, Özyeğin, and Sabancı.
In a recent meeting held in Istanbul, TAU president Prof. Ariel Porat and the heads of the three Turkish universities decided to advance the so-called “Academic Bridge Initiative”, which comprises a series of academic collaborations, including student and faculty exchange programs and joint research initiatives.
The meeting was also attended by TAU’s VP International Prof. Milette Shamir and VP for Resource Development Amos Elad, Israel’s Consul General in Istanbul Udi Eitam, leaders of the Jewish community in Turkey including the Chairman of the Jewish community Yitzhak Ibrahim Zada, and Turkish academics, entrepreneurs, and industrialists.
A Bridge between Nations
“The purpose of the initiative is to promote academic research in both countries,” emphasized Prof. Porat. The joint research projects are expected to address a vast range of issues, including matters of regional importance such as climate, entrepreneurship, and archaeology, as well the situation in the Middle East.
Involved parties say that without the warming of relations between heads of state it would have been difficult to advance the academic collaboration. Prof. Milette Shamir, TAU’s VP International expressed, “I sincerely hope that after years of little contact between Israeli and Turkish institutions, our visit heralds a new era. Israel and Turkey are powerfully connected by a rich history, a range of both political and economic interests, and similar challenges in areas such as climate, health, and technology. Thus, the academic bridge we are building has great potential.”
Featured image: Israeli and Turkish representatives (photo: Can Kınalıkaya)