A Reply to Public Declaration


To whom it may concern;

We are writing this letter to clarify some of the issues raised by TUBITAK Information Office’s Public Declaration.

We kindly ask you to read the said declaration first.

Once you read this public declaration, we are confident that you will able able to see through it.

We would like to raise some factual points and ask some further questions:

(1) The number of Faculty at Feza Gursey Institute:

(2) The urgency to restructure.

(3) The end of a model.

(4) Why not new Institutes for Applied Mathematics and/or Applied/Engineering Physics are formed?

First of all, the declaration in question does not address several points:

(1) Number of faculty members at Feza Gursey:

Declaration never mentions the severe drop in the number of faculty members at Feza Gursey Institute.

TUBITAK’s current president Prof. Nuket Yetis was appointed in 2004. Feza Gursey’s faculty shrank under Yetis’s presidency.

Various statistics are available at Feza Gursey Institute’s web site:

For number of faculty, please see the document titled “Feza Gursey Institute with Numbers” on http://www.gursey.gov.tr

The direct link is


(2) The urgency to restructure / to terminate:

June 5, 2011 — decision to restructure (close down) Feza Gursey Institute

This decision was never made available to the Directorate of Feza Gursey Institute. So we are unaware of what this decision entailed.

July 9, 2011 — the final decision to restructure (close down) Feza Gursey Institute by July 15, 2011 (IN SEVEN DAYS)

July 11, 2011 — the decision about Feza Gursey from July 9 is made available to the Directorate of Feza Gursey Institute

July 12, 2011 — Movers came to look around Feza Gursey Institute

July 13, 2011 — Half of the library was moved away into STORAGE in Gebze

July 14,15 2011 — The rest of stuff was carried away.

July 15, 2011 — The new Feza Gursey Institute as a part of BILGEM, Informatics and Information Safety Center

Comment: Feza Gursey Institute was an institute of 28 years. It was gone within seven days. Despite fancy words such as ‘restructuring’, this situation cannot be called restructuring. No institution can be restructured in 7 days and especially without any plans for the future. What the public declaration outlines for Feza Gursey Institute are intentions, no true plans. Without any true planning, discussed in length and announced in ahead of time, such restructuring deserves to be called what it is: Termination!

Perhaps, Feza Gursey Institute will be reactivated as an institute of applied research under BILGEM as depicted in TUBITAK’s declaration, but it is clearly not going to be an institute where you discuss theoretical physics or mathematics, strings, motives and alike.

(3) The end of a model / an example.

Feza Gursey Institute represented the result of a search of a “new institution” aimed for scientific progress in Turkey. This is well documented on the web pages of the Institute:



Feza Gursey Institute was built to be the first example for a new breed of scientific institutions in Turkey: joint research institutes between universities and TUBITAK.

Attaching Feza Gursey Institute to Informatics and Information Safety Research Center also means that Turkey is giving up this form of scientific organization, in the form of independent research institutes shared by universities and TUBITAK. More remarkably, Turkey is giving up this tradition and know-how formed over 28 years within 7 days!

(4) Why not new Institutes for Applied Mathematics and/or Applied/Engineering Physics are formed?

It is truly curious why the administration of TUBITAK did not decide to form new institutes concentrating on Applied Mathematics or Applied Physics. TUBITAK definitely has the money for it. In 2010, TUBITAK budget was of the level of ONE BILLION DOLLARS — highest to date. This amount went up further in 2011. Again in 2010, TUBITAK was incapable of using about 200 M USD of this budget (TUBITAK 2010 Annual Report).

Feza Gursey Institute costs a meager 1.3 M USD a year. Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn spends around 6 M Euro, IPM in Tehran has a budget around 11 M USD. Is Turkey such an unfortunate country where there will be no true investment into theoretical physics and mathematics ? We would dare say ‘no’. As outlined above, Turkey has quite a large amount of money (200 M USD) to spend on science, but was incapable to do so last year.

Surely, one can start many new institutes such as Feza Gursey Institute with 200 M USD. If the budget of Feza Gursey Institute were to rise up to 5 M USD and freedom to hire Turkish researchers as well as internationals was provided, there would be no holding Feza Gursey Institute. We believe the same would be true for other fields of research. It is evident to us that one can build many institutes similar to Feza Gursey Institute in other areas of research throughout Turkey with 200 M USD.

Some points about the TUBITAK Information Office’s public declaration :

The public declaration depicts Feza Gursey Institute mostly as a school, where no research was being conducted. On the contrary, Feza Gursey Institute has one of the best research record of all TUBITAK Institutes, if not the best. Since year 1997, Feza Gursey Institute published 337 international articles and received 1997 citations. These numbers were achieved despite all the difficulties faced over the years.

Feza Gursey Institute is the first scientific institution to employ Post-Docs in Turkey. It has also been instrumental in reversing the brain drain from Turkey.

Feza Gursey Institute researchers are among the top tier scientists in Turkey: Awardswise, Feza Gursey Institute is one of the most decorated scientific institutions of Turkey.

The main focus of Feza Gursey Institute is research — pure and simple. That is to produce research as well as to foster research in any other possible form. For this aim, over the years, Feza Gursey Institute also acted as a graduate-level school through various scientific programs, a school where people were introduced to research, the forefront of modern science and its unsolved problems. This is why Feza Gursey Institute has an immense popularity within the younger generation of scientists in Turkey. To them, Feza Gursey Institute represents a place where they found inspiration and

motivation to become or go on as scientists.

Similarly, all scientific programs in the Institute aim to increase number of scientific collaborations between participants from Turkey and also counterparts between Turkey and abroad.

Since its foundation, Feza Gursey Institute played a critical role in the development of theoretical physics and mathematics in Turkey. For instance, Feza Gursey Institute has been instrumental in an explosion in the Istanbul mathematical scene in recent years. The number of mathematical events (workshops, conferences, summer schools) held since June 2009 is about 16. In 2011, Feza Gursey Institute was able to organize 4 such events in mathematics, and was planning to realize 12 more (the total for 2011 would have been 16). Let us remind you that except for very few, all Feza Gursey programs, including  accommodation and food, were free of charge.

The total number of programs at Feza Gursey Institute — bear in mind that the number of full time faculty at Feza Gursey Institute is only 4 by year 2011:

2007: 11 scientific events (9 physics, 2 math)

2008: 11 scientific events (11 physics)

2009: 11 scientific events (9 physics, 2 math)

2010: 24 scientific events (14 physics, 10 math)

2011: 5 scientific events so far (1 physics, 4 math) ( Over 20 different scientific programs were planned for 2011).

Without hesitation, one would proudly say that the scientific record of Feza Gursey Institute speaks for itself.

Best wishes,



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