Turkey and Science Academies
Despite the AKP's earlier critique of and declaration to abolish of the Council of Higher Education, the Council along with the Academy is restructuring to assume stronger top-down management of research and teaching. Bruce Alberts, the Editor-in-Chief of Science writes on the Turkish Government's decision to directly or indirectly appoint the members of TUBA-Turkish Academy of Sciences and the effect of new regulations on academic freedom.
"Turkey increased its support of R&D sixfold from 1995 to 2007, reaching a current investment rate of about 0.7% of gross domestic product.† In order for these resources to be well spent, it is critical that Turkey maintain an environment for science that encourages creativity and rewards excellence. Unfortunately, for the past decade Turkey's scientists have been increasingly subjected to counterproductive top-down management. Teachers are reportedly “facing increasing pressure not to teach modern theories of evolution..."
"TÜBA was established only in 1993, but it has already been an important force for promoting excellence in both science and science education in Turkey. For example, it has empowered young scientists through the development of a Young Academy and has focused on creating high-quality inquiry-based science education for children. Its expert guidance will be essential in the future for improving the effectiveness of the government's increasing support for science and technology, a critical function that depends on TÜBA's ability to tell the truth to government, independent of political considerations. An “academy” whose members are largely appointed by government cannot play this role effectively."
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