To the attention of the Honorable Nihat Ergun, Minister of
Science, Industry and Technology of Turkey
Sent by e-mail to:
I am writing to you in my capacity as member of the Advisory Board of the Basic Sciences Research Institute (TBAE; also known as Feza Gursey Institute) of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), and as someone who visited the Institute several times in the past (when professor Yavuz Nutku, a highly esteemed colleague and very good friend of mine was still alive) and gave various scientific talks there. I am writing because it has been brought to my attention that there are plans to close down TBAE by merging it inside the TUBITAK Centre of Research for Advanced Technologies of Informatics and Information Security (TUBITAK BILGEM).
This development seem to me most unfortunate. TBAE has been a center of excellence in theoretical and mathematical physics for decades. It has essentially contributed to keep Turkey in the international scientific map in these scientific fields, which subtend applicative developments key to technological modernization. It is easy to destroy an institute of this kind by withdrawing the financial and organizational support key for its continued existence as a vibrant research center, and then by dissolving it into a much larger institution with a different mission. It shall be quite difficult to reconstruct an analogous institution when it will be understood how much such autonomous scientific centers, with an excellent international reputation, are essential for the development of the scientific culture and community indispensable for the present and the future of a modern country like Turkey.
For these reasons I hope that no further downsizing of TBAE will be allowed, that its dissolution inside TUBITAK BILGEM will not be allowed to happen, and that instead a substantial reconstitution of its scientific potential as an autonomous institution will be fostered.
Please accept my best regards.
(not hand-signed because sent by e-mail)
Rome, 20 July, 2011