NATO’s third dimension
Turkey has been at the heart of NATO’s science programme for decades. In the 80’s, Turkey, Greece and Portugal benefited from a NATO Research and Development programme called ‘Science for Stability’ that supported specific research and development projects and allowed to acquire additional modern scientific equipment, leading to an upgrade of scientific infrastructure.
In Turkey the Science for Stability Programme was instrumental in developing R&D activities related to the Black Sea. Science for Stability was the initiator of the Black Sea regional project (involving also Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania) and financially contributed to the upgrade of the scientific equipment aboard the Turkish oceanographic vessel - the Bilim - which is still operational today..
Also, the Tübitak Marmara Research Centre largely benefited from the SfP programme with NATO support for R&D in fields such as food processing, microelectronics and new materials.
The success of the Science of Stability programme was extended to partner countries in the early ‘90s and became known as the Science for Peace programme. Thanks to its experience, Turkey became a key partner in many of the regional projects led in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
In parallel, as a NATO response to the devastating earthquake in 1999, a special budget was allocated to earthquake-related research aiding Turkey with this issue. Four major projects emanated from this: monitoring, the Marmara Sea research, Japanese probes for the Marmara Sea and mapping exercises.
Additionally, as of 1957 the NATO fellowship programme supported capacity-building through the sponsorship of individual scientists. Over time, a score of Turkish scientists have been supported by NATO.