President's Report Masthead
September 30, 2013

Turkish Military Academy reaches out to partner with Binghamton University

In any given semester, over 400 students from Turkey are attending Binghamton University as part of a successful dual-diploma program with a number of Turkish universities. It made perfect sense, then, when the Turkish Military Academy (TMA) approached the campus to investigate a possible partnership at the graduate level. The TMA is the sole Turkish academy for the country’s land forces.

“We received a request for a visit from them in late October 2011, and they were looking for possibilities to partner with a civilian institution,” said Oktay Sekercisoy, director for international partnership development. “They were looking for a way to focus on social issues and teach their student cadets about social and scientific issues that are taught in civilian institutions rather than military academies.

“They were in the process of restructuring their academic offerings,” Sekercisoy said. “We met them at the intersection of this reorganization.”

The TMA was aware of Binghamton’s reputation and our other partnerships with Turkish universities and we were eager to establish a partnership, so we hosted several visitors from TMA in Dec. 2011. “They took a particular interest in the Watson School, so Dean Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari invited all of the Watson department chairs to present their academic offerings and research interests,” said Sekercisoy. “At the same time, TMA presented about what they were interested in.

“The main idea is to bring TMA students to Binghamton and train them to be faculty members who will go back to work as TMA professors,” Sekercisoy said.

Vice Provost for International Affairs Katharine Krebs and Sekercisoy visited TMA in March 2012, to meet with officials, and arranged for Watson’s associate deans Peter Partell and Ron Miles to travel to Turkey in 2013, to again present Watson as a viable partner.

The University hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) soon to formalize the relationship, Sekercisoy said, and Srihari will travel to visit TMA in December to further solidify the relationship.

Sekercisoy has served as the liaison for the University, working with TMA students to help them put together their application folders for graduate school, and this fall, five graduate students from TMA have begun pursuing their master’s and doctorates in various engineering disciplines.

Srihari hosted the new students for a welcome meeting before school started and will have continuous meetings with them to see what they need because TMA is exploring possibilities for the future, such as dual degree and exchange programs.

“After the signing of an MOU, TMA promises to send more students,” said Sekercisoy. “They’re very interested in Binghamton because of the cultural possibilities of socializing Turkish Military Academy students with other Turkish students. The presence of others from Turkey is a driver for them. The continuity of their culture here is a plus.”