President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to make Turkey a hub for scientists.
“In the coming period, we will make our country a much more important center for all scientists. This development also means that the ashes on civilization will begin to scatter and the fire will begin to ignite,” Erdoğan said at the commemoration day of the late academic Fuat Sezgin.
If one appreciates science, their way should be opened, he said, adding that the government had to struggle against the “bigotry of the old era.” He identified it as a struggle against the “colonial intelligentsia.”
“Although we have not completely eliminated this mentality, it is a fact that we extend the range of scientific studies as much as possible,” the president noted.
Turkey has drawn more interest in the areas of social science, primarily history, culture, arts and literature thanks to these efforts, Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan stated that Sezgin was dismissed from Istanbul University at the time, before moving to Germany where his studies were highly appreciated.
“One of the biggest shames of our history is the dismissal of such a scientist from Istanbul University after the coup of 1960. Following his dismissal from Istanbul University, Fuat Sezgin continued his studies in Germany. Germany had embraced our academic,” Erdoğan stated.
Sezgin published an important part of his works “which are unique in terms of the history of Islamic science and technology,” in the German language, he said.
He added that these works have been patented in German history.
Erdoğan said Sezgin was not welcome in the country at the time because of the “expression of Islam” as the topic of his works.
“If he had studied Roman or Byzantine history, not Islam, he would’ve stayed in Istanbul University for the rest of his life,” Erdoğan said.
Sezgin is a renowned Turkish orientalist and historian of science and was the founder and long-term director of the Institute of the History of the Arab-Islamic Sciences at J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt.