Mehmet Samsar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey, has come to St Petersburg University for a reconnaissance visit. He met with the Rector of St Petersburg University, and also talked with students and lecturers of the Department of Turkic Philology.

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Nikolay Kropachev, the University rector, thanked the distinguished guest for his visit and the attention paid to the development of academic contacts between Russia and Turkey. The rector said that due to its special status, St Petersburg University had been granted exclusive rights for Russian universities. This made it possible to increase tenfold the number of the degree academic programmes and actively develop international cooperation. Nowadays, there are a lot of ambassadors and consuls of foreign countries who work at the University. They deliver lectures to university students as professors or take part in academic programme councils.

‘The councils have been granted the rights to select lecturers and to determine the programme content and the requirements for applicants,’ explained Nikolay Kropachev. ‘I am sure that such delegation of authorities to representatives of other countries when it comes to cultural programmes is the right approach. In this case, they will certainly be executed competently.’ 

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In order to strengthen the Turkish component in the University’s academic programmes, the rector suggested that the ambassador should launch a new master's programme at St Petersburg University, devoted to contemporary Turkish studies, and  head the council of such a programme. He mentioned the ‘Hungarian Culture’ programme, one of the popular programmes with a foreign component, as an example. The Ambassador of Hungary took part in its development. The conclusion of a direct agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary also contributed to the further development of a Hungarian component in the academic and research process.

The councils of academic programmes have been granted the rights to select lecturers and to determine the programme content and the requirements for applicants. I am sure that such delegation of authorities to representatives of other countries when it comes to cultural programmes is the right approach.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

During the meeting, they also talked about the fact that there are currently a lot of thematic study rooms at the University: the Ho Chi Minh cabinet; the Thai cabinet; the Japanese cabinet; and the Hungarian cabinet. The Rector of St Petersburg University suggested opening a Turkish cabinet at the University. It will become the centre of attraction for anyone interested in studying Turkey. National holidays will be celebrated here, and students will be able to get acquainted with literature about history and culture and gain access to Turkish electronic academic and research databases.

Additionally, the forthcoming opening of the St Petersburg University representative office in Turkey was discussed during the meeting. A significant event should take place in February 2020 at the premises of TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara. At present, there are already representative offices of St Petersburg University in Spain, the Republic of Korea, and China. This November will see the opening of the representative office of St Petersburg University in the United States.  

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Mehmet Samsar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey, noted that it is the priority for the Embassy to strengthen relations between Russia and Turkey in the field of education. It also appreciates the close cooperation between St Petersburg University and Turkish universities. He said that the Council of Higher Education of Turkey has not yet entered into agreements with any foreign university. So, the establishment of cooperation with St Petersburg University at this level will be a precedent. Mr Ambassador agreed to consider the proposal to head the council of the future academic programme devoted to modern Turkey.

Mehmet Samsar also said that 2020 will see the celebration of the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Republic of Turkey. It is proposed to declare 2021 a cross year for the history of Russia and Turkey. He suggested organising joint events dedicated to these significant dates for both countries. Additionally, next March will see the Russian–Turkish business forum and the scheduled meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.  He emphasised that it will be possible to hold joint round table discussions.

At the end of his visit, the Turkish Ambassador met with students and lecturers of the Department of Turkic Philology of St Petersburg University.

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