The association agreement, which allows Turkey to officially participate in the European Union's Horizon Europe Programme, was signed in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı, on behalf of Turkey and, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, on behalf of the EU, signed the agreement. The President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal also accompanied Kaymakcı.
After the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister Kaymakcı made a statement to the journalists and reminded them that Turkey, as an EU candidate and a European country, has been participating in these programs for many years. Referring to the importance of the Horizon Europe Programme, Kaymakcı said, "This is the Programme showing our horizon should be Europe, and the EU membership as innovation and research activities are progressing rapidly in Europe. There is a great competition with the USA, and as an actor of the European continent, Turkey is also in this competition as our country both benefits from and contributes to the Programme." Kaymakcı stated that a budget of 96 billion Euros was provided for the participating countries in the Horizon Europe Programme and that the participating countries should also make a national contribution.
Turkey is One of the Main Actors
TUBITAK President Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal emphasized his pleasure with the signing of the agreement after the months of hard work. Pointing out that the program provides an opportunity to develop closer cooperation not only in the Green Deal or Digital Transformation topics but also in the science, research and innovation ecosystem typically, Mandal said that Turkey received much more than the national budget it provided back within the scope of the Horizon 2020 Programme. Explaining the importance of the Horizon Europe Programme for Turkey, Prof. Dr. Mandal said, "Turkey is beyond being just a beneficiary, but one of the main actors in this process."
Prof. Dr. Mandal stated that the concepts of science, technology and innovation were facilitators in solving problems in the past and that these concepts have become a necessity today and said, "We have contributions to add to Europe as well as what we will receive from Europe. The research ecosystem in Turkey has shown that it is ready for this, especially with its work in the last 2 years. In this process, Turkey is no longer a follower, it is now ready to be followed."
What is Horizon Europe?
It is aimed to support science and innovation activities between 2021-2027 with Horizon Europe, the 9th Framework Program of the European Union. Horizon Europe Programme aims to strengthen the European Union scientifically and technologically, to increase Europe's innovation capacity, competitiveness and employment, to meet society's priorities, and to maintain Europe's socioeconomic models and values. The structure of the Horizon Europe Programme is grouped under 3 components, similar to the Horizon 2020 Programme structure. These 3 components are listed as “Scientific Excellence, Global Challenges and Industrial Competition, Innovative Europe”. It is emphasized that the concepts of "open science" and "open innovation" will be applied for the whole program, while the sub-programs are planned to be compatible and integrative with each other and with other union programs.