The Consul General of the Republic of Turkey Yunus Belet and the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Politics of Ankara University Can Giray Özgül paid an official visit to St Petersburg University. The objectives of the meeting were to discuss the prospects for further cooperation between Turkish universities and St Petersburg University.

Deputy Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University Sergei Andryushin mentioned that the University signed an agreement on cooperation with the leading Turkish universities. This occurred at the recent II Forum of rectors held as part of the Russian—Turkish public forum. ‘We shaped certain plans and are ready to organize programmes for the academic mobility of students and teachers and implement a number of educational projects that we discussed earlier,’ said Sergei Andryushin, ‘now we have a very good possibility to look upon the details of our cooperation.’

Yunus Belet also pointed out that the relations between Turkey and Russia had been improving lately.

The leaders of the two countries have done a lot to expand cooperation. Representatives of the Turkish academic society often come to St Petersburg attracted not only by the beauty of the place but also by the prestige of the city as an academic centre,

Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in St Petersburg, Yunus Belet

Representatives of Ankara University arrived at St Petersburg aiming to enter into cooperation with the universities of St Petersburg. The council underlined that earlier personal relations had been established between members of Ankara University and Associate Professor Apollinaria Avrutina, Department for theory and methods of training in languages and cultures of Asia and Africa of St Petersburg University.

Political scientists of Ankara University take a special interest in studying the current state of Russian—Turkish relations as well as the state structure of the Russian Federation. The news about creating in St Petersburg University a centre of Turkish studies was received with strong interest in Ankara. This is because in Ankara University a similar centre of Russian studies had already been set up.

The St Petersburg University experts present at the meeting were: Denis Golubev, Department of American Studies; Andrei Belonogov, the head of the admissions division for ‘Public relations’, ‘Political studies’, ‘Sociology’, and ‘Economics’; and Appolinaria Avrutina, an orientalist and turkologist. They expressed their readiness to discuss prospects for further collaboration, and to establish closer contact with Turkish colleagues.

In the nearest future, representatives of both universities will sign the protocols elaborating on the details of academic mobility of students and teachers and on the collaborative academic projects. ‘Our Universities are among the greatest traditional universities of the World, so our collaboration cannot be limited to public relations only,’ said Sergei Andryushin. ‘We are ready to discuss mutual interdisciplinary projects in natural science and humanities.’

During the meeting the Consul General of the Republic of Turkey also spoke about an initiative of the Turkish Historical Society, which was established in 1932 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It proposed holding in September a symposium ‘Russian—Turkish relations: from past to future’. Sergei Andryushin pointed out that in St Petersburg University there was a special regulation for such events and suggested consulting the University experts first and maybe rescheduling the symposium for later dates in order to have the time to prepare for the event properly.

The Council agreed with the arguments and added that the symposium could be held back to back with the dates significant for both countries. For example, in 2020 there will be an anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Republic of Turkey. Additionally, at the Russian—Turkish forum it was suggested that the year 2021 should be declared bilateral year in the history of Russia and Turkey.

Also, the meeting focused on arranging a photo exhibition, dedicated to the input of Russian emigrants in the life of Turkish society in the first half of the 20th century. Both parties agreed to launch the exhibition in the nearest future as a part of the symposium of the Turkish historical society, which had been discussed earlier.