Turkey: The Bridge between Europe and Asia

Germany has a long tradition of cooperation with Turkey in education and research. A wide range of new collaborations emerged during the 2014 German-Turkish Science Year, including the German-Turkish University.

Flagge Deutschland und Türkei
Germany and Turkey © Thinkstock / Ruskpp

Thanks to its geographical position on the Bosporus, Turkey is both a bridge and an important link to the Middle East and Asia. Germany and Turkey have a special relationship owing not least to the approximately three million Turkish citizens and people of Turkish descent living in Germany. Cooperation in the areas of culture, education and research is extremely varied.

Funding programmes

On the German side, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and numerous foundations are involved in supporting cooperation between German and Turkish researchers.

Joint learning and research

The BMBF, together with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), provides funding for German-Turkish research projects under the German national Strategy for the Internationalization of Education, Science and Research.

The development and intensification of bilateral scientific cooperation between German and Turkish institutions is promoted in line with the regulations governing the funding of Turkish-German scientific and technological cooperation by supporting scientific exchange and preparing joint project proposals.

The IntenC Programme (Intensified Cooperation) served to provide funding for bilateral research projects which led to a lasting improvement in R&D relations between the partners and in particular to the promotion of young scientists.

The intensification of cooperation between German and Turkish research and business stakeholders was supported under the “2+2” project funding programme. The selected R&D projects involved at least one German and one Turkish research institution or university as well as one German and one Turkish commercial company.

The Turkish-German University (TDU)

A joint declaration on the deepening of research and innovation cooperation was signed at the opening event of the 2014 German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation. The Turkish-German University (TDU) in Istanbul officially opened in the same year.

The first 120 students enrolled in three bachelor and three master degree programmes in the winter semester 2013/14. The university has five faculties: law, natural sciences, economics, art and social sciences and engineering. Almost 2500 students are currently enrolled at the TDU, of which around 1100 are completing a one-year language course at the university’s foreign languages centre. In January 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel opened a new campus in Istanbul.

In 2012, the German-Turkish Advanced ICT Research Centre (GT-ARC) was established with branches in Berlin and Istanbul. The centre is supported by the German and Turkish business community and is embedded in the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy.