Commissioner Potocnik on first official visit to Turkey

September 6, 2006

Brussels, 5 September 2006

European Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, will make his first official visit to Turkey on 6-8 September 2006. He will address a conference on European Technology Platforms in Ankara on 7 September, visit the Gebze Marmara Research Centre, and meet with representatives of the Turkish business and science and research community in Istanbul on 8 September. He will also meet with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. The main themes of the visit will be Turkish participation in current and future research framework programmes, and the development of national policies that support research.

The conference on European Technology platforms on 7 September is jointly organised by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). About 350 participants from Turkey and the EU will get the chance to listen to the experiences of existing European Technology Platforms, and how this tool which brings together researchers and industrialists to establish a common research agenda can be useful to involve more industry in research..

The Marmara Research Centre is Turkey’s only multidisciplinary research centre, with institutes for chemistry and environment, earth and marine sciences, energy, food, information technologies and materials. Its aim is to provide technological support to the development of Turkish industry.

In Istanbul the Commissioner will take part in a panel discussion on “Science, Research and Innovation Competence on the Way to Improve the Competitiveness”, as part of a conference on “Science and Research towards Membership of the EU”. He will highlight the benefits to be derived for Turkey’s European future from close co-operation in the science and research field. He will call for greater industry involvement in research, and increased investment in skills and human resources.

The Science and Research chapter of Turkey’s accession negotiations was discussed by the Council of Ministers on 12 June 2006, the first of the 35 chapters for the negotiations, assessing the compatibility of Turkish and EU law. The Council concluded that given Turkey’s good general state of preparedness in the area of science and research, benchmarks were not required and the chapter required no further negotiations.

This visit is the latest in a series of visits by Commissioner Potočnik to countries that are in the accession process or may apply to join the EU in the future. He has recently visited Serbia and Bulgaria, and will visit Romania next week and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia before the end of the year.

Item source: IP/06/1151 Date: 05/09/2006

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