Our Graduate and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim Was Awarded with “Golden Bee”
Oct 10, 2016

The Prime Minister of Turkey, who graduated from ITU Faculty of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering in 1977, visited ITU to receive the Golden Bee Award and traveled back to his college years during his visit.

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The award decision was taken by the University Senate on 16 April 2016, when Binali Yildirim was the Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication; however, he was not able to attend the Golden Bee Awards Ceremony held in May 2016 due to his heavy schedule stemming from his being newly appointed as the Prime Minister. During his recent visit to ITU, Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca tendered the award at the ceremony organised for the visit. The Prime Minister stated that receiving such an award from the university that he graduated from was of particular significance to him and added that the new generation educated at ITU will shape the future of Turkey.

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Prof. Mehmet Karaca: “Turkey’s development will gain momentum through the contribution of universities”

Prime Minister Yildirim, who visited ITU with a large group, was welcomed by ITU Rector

Prof. Mehmet Karaca at Ayazaga Campus entrance, and then the group headed to Suleyman Demirel Cultural Centre for the 2016-2017 Academic Year Inauguration Ceremony. The ceremony started with the opening speech by Prof. Mehmet Karaca. After stating that he was glad to see Prime Minister Yildirim, the Minister of National Education, Ismet Yilmaz, and all the guests, Prof. Karaca condemned yesterday’s attack in Hakkari and the coup attempt that took place on 15 July. Karaca stated that he wished such incidents never occurred again and offered his condolences for the loss of lives and wished that the injured members of the armed forces and citizens would heal soon.

Pointing out that Technical University has produced innumerable distinguished graduates including scientists, artists, and politicians, Prof. Karaca stated that this is the outcome of a deeply-established tradition dating back to Mühendishane-i Bahr-i Hümayun, which was established in 1773. Indicating that development efforts, which gained momentum in the past fifteen years, have started to yield fruits, Karaca underscored the importance of the contributions by universities to facilitate this process. Prof. Mehmet Karaca ended his speech by saying “welcome” to the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Education, and all the guests.

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Minister of National Education, Ismet Yilmaz: “We should work more for a more brighter future.”

Following Rector’s speech, Minister of National Education Ismet Yilmaz, who is also an ITU graduate, addressed the guests, wishing them all a nice academic year. Yilmaz stated that ITU has proven itself as a brand institution with its distinguished graduates who shaped Turkey’s future, and cited as examples Turkey’s former presidents Suleyman Demirel and Turgut Ozal. The Minister continued his speech by briefly informing the audience about the government’s projects in the field of education and stressed that they wanted to cultivate an understanding of education that is scientific and modern and that involves measurable quality standards. Among the issues he talked about were the access of students with disabilities to education and increasing the quality of education. Related to the issue of quality, the Minister said that Turkey has almost reached OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) averages for the share of GDP devoted to education and that the existence of seven million higher education students in 180 Turkish universities is not merely an indicator of high quantity but also a sign of high quality education. He added that among the European countries Turkey has the highest number of students in higher education. At the end of his speech, Yilmaz talked about terror attacks and coup attempt of 15 July, wishing that such incidents would never take place again and stressing the need for unity and hard work in order to build a brighter future. Yilmaz also stated that universities should act in accordance with the principle that “If the matter is our country, the rest is inessential.”

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Prime Minister Binali Yildirim: “ITU is a brand university that educates Turkey’s leading figures.”

Following the speech of Minister of National Education Ismet Yilmaz, our graduate and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addressed the guests. Expressing that he was excited to be at ITU, Yildirim pointed to ITU’s being a brand university producing those who shape Turkey’s future directions. The Prime Minister also stated that he was honored to hold an engineering BS degree from ITU and that ITU’s achievements at national and international platforms boost his pride. Yildirim declared that their governments have increased education budget tenfold and that for them austerity measures in education could not be an option at all, although, he added, budgets allocated to education prior to 2002 were far from being adequate. The Prime Minister also stated that the changing world conditions had radically transformed the notion of education that it was no longer confined to the boundaries of classroom and in line with this notion they were planning to transition to full-day education throughout the entire country until 2019. Yildirim added that all state resources would be mobilised in order to remove the barriers in this direction.

Talking about the terror attack of 9 October and coup attempt of 15 July, the Prime Minister commemorated those who lost their lives and wished health for the injured. Yildirim also expressed his thanks and good health wishes to ITU students Seyit Mesut Çiçek and Muhammed Cihad Akkaya, who were injured on the night of 15 July while resisting the coup. Besides, the Prime Minister commemorated ITU student Güney Doğan, who lost his life in the terror attack at the peace rally on October 10, 2015 in Ankara. In his speech, the Prime Minister stated that Turkish society proved to the entire world how firmly they could defend their freedoms and future.

In the later sections of his speech, Yildirim gave the youth some advice such as the inevitability of learning a foreign language to catch up with the world. The Prime Minister also cautioned against being hidebound and intolerant, and advised that students should not preoccupy themselves with academic achievement and vocational qualifications to the exclusion of crucial characteristics that he thought should be promoted at universities, such as having an inquisitive mind and being open for development.

The Prime Minister emphasized that without the involvement of university, economic development and industrialization would be far from being attainable and that universities isolated from life would not be able to lead the society. He shared his thoughts on the notion of university with the guests, stating that a university was more than lecture halls and laboratories, but it meant leaning life, friendships, and socialization. Reminding the students that a fierce international competition is awaiting them following their graduation, the Prime Minister indicated that they are doing their best to assist the youth.

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Including amusing elements in his speech, the Prime Minister added an element of laughter to his speech. He told a humorous anecdote about the Council of Ministers meetings, where he experienced differing point of views held by experts in natural sciences and social sciences and shared with the guests his fun memories with professors during his college years.

Talking about some of his professors he still remembers, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim received the Golden Bee Award from our Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca. The ceremony ended with posing for the press, who wanted to document the ceremony with pictures.