Bilkent Pays Homage to Atatürk

November 10, 2012, marked the 74th anniversary of the death of Turkey's beloved Atatürk. Bilkent University commemorated the solemn occasion with a ceremony in his memory. The day began at Bilkent's Atatürk Monument with a moment of silence. This was followed by a mini concert, performed by Ebru Yerlikaya (violin), İlayda Zeynep Köksal (violin), Günsu Semra Erdem (viola) and İrem Canduran (violoncello), and held in Mithat Çoruh Auditorium. The students played the first and fourth movements of Ulvi Cemal Erkin's "Yaylı Sazlar Kuarteti." During the commemoration, Asst. Prof. Berrak Burçak of the Department of Political Science spoke about Atatürk, focusing on his fight to secure political independence, his building of modern Turkey and his legacy. Dr. Burçak's tribute pointed out that this legacy encompasses not only Atatürk's material achievements as a great nation and institution builder, but also his personal attributes, such as valor, courage and stamina, which allowed him to become a savior and a leader for his people. The day ended with a special concert in memory of Atatürk by the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra at the Bilkent Concert Hall. Conducted by Gürer Aykal, with Selçuk Akyol on oboe, the orchestra performed Özkan Manav's "Dört Türkü," Richard Strauss's Concerto for Oboe in D major and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor (Op. 67).

Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Confers Honorary Doctorate on Prof. Halil İnalcık


Professor Halil İnalcık, renowned historian and founder of Bilkent University's Department of History, received an honorary doctorate from the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences on November 7 at Mithat Çoruh Auditorium. Prof. Yaqub Maxmudov, president of the Institute of History at the Academy, conferred the doctorate on Prof İnalcık on behalf of the Academy at a ceremony attended by many, including Mustafa İsen, the secretary general to the president of the Turkish Republic; Azerbaijan's ambassador to Ankara; Prof. Ali Doğramacı, chairman of the Board of Trustees and president of the University; Rector Abdullah Atalar; as well as faculty members, scholars, historians and a large number of students.

Photograph by Aydın Ramazanoğlu

The ceremony began with Rector Atalar's speech. Referring to the importance of Azerbaijan to Bilkent University and the Bilkent community -- a connection that may be traced back to founder İhsan Doğramacı -- the rector stated, "Today, the most prestigious academic institution of Azerbaijan is honoring the most prestigious hoca, academic and scholar of Turkey."

The panel that followed was moderated by Prof. Metin Heper, vice rector for academic affairs, with Prof. Özer Ergenç and Dr. Mehmet Kalpaklı of the Department of History and Dr. Berrak Burçak of the Department of Political Science as panel members.

This mini-symposium transformed the proceedings from a simple presentation of an honorary doctorate to a celebration of Prof. İnalcık and his work. While statements of praise and expressions of admiration and veneration are common at ceremonies of this kind, in this instance the tributes had unquestionably genuine substance.

Prof. Heper pointed to Prof. İnalcık's infinite energy and unceasing hard work: "Just as in a similar interview twenty years ago, in a newspaper article published only a couple of days previously, Halil Hoca talked about the numerous projects he was absorbed in."

Prof. Ergenç, one of Prof. İnalcık's oldest students, noted that throughout his long and successful career, Prof. İnalcık consistently chose the difficult:
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Bilkent Signs Agreement with the University of Reading

Bilkent University and the University of Reading in England have signed an agreement to engage in what is hoped to be the first among a number of potential faculty/student exchange and similar cooperative programs involving the two universities.

On Thursday, November 1, Prof. Orhan Aytür, vice rector of Bilkent University, and Prof. Steve Mithen, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Reading, signed an Erasmus Teaching Staff Mobility agreement between the Departments of Archaeology of both universities.

In addition, several possible future agreements were discussed during the meeting, such as dual master's programs and student and academic staff exchanges.