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Engineering Education In Turkey

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Engineers & Engineering Education in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.549.1 - 9.549.7



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Paper Authors

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S. Birgül Tantekin-Ersolmaz

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Gülsün Saglamer

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Ekrem Ekinci

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3460

Engineering Education in Turkey: From Ottomans to the Republic

Ş. Birgül Tantekin-Ersolmaz, Ekrem Ekinci, Gülsün Sağlamer

Istanbul Technical University, Maslak, Istanbul 34469, Turkey

History of Engineering Education in Turkey

The establishment of higher learning institutions in Turkey dates back to the eleventh century1. Initially these higher learning institutions were affiliated with the most important mosques and their curriculum consisted of Muslim law and study, and interpretation of the Koran. Their programs were later expanded to include subjects like logic, mathematics and geometry. This tradition did not evolve into a secular positive science education until the eighteenth century.

Ottomans were not behind the west in technological capabilities until the sixteenth century. Indeed, Rodinson2 claims a well developed industrial activity in the Ottoman Empire, reporting three to four workers at the production plants in Istanbul. According to this source, technical superiority continued until the seventeenth century. The practices at those times included wet agricultural techniques, water transportation and water lift at the riversides. In wheat and barley processing, mills were used, and water and wind energy were harnessed. Casting of heavy artillery and transportation techniques of these weapons to intercontinental distances were developed. Construction of complicated bridge structures, roads and aqua ducts especially by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan was outstanding. Çeçen3 in a book he edited on Ottoman technology also distinguishes the sixteen century as the zenith of the Ottoman technological development. Queen Elizabeth has sent industrial spies to learn about the wool dying techniques in Istanbul4. Furthermore, practices such as flying using self made wings of Hezarfen Ahmed and rocket launch attempts of Lagari Hasan Çelebi were the reflections of the level of technology in the Ottoman Empire. However, as explained above, the educational institutions were based on theological understanding and the Ottoman technology was resting on apprenticeship.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there were two main migrations; from east to west, and west to east. The first immigrants were the scientists, artists, musicians of the Byzantine Empire who went to different parts of Europe to be an effective part of the Renaissance and reformation. The second wave of migration was the Jews from Spain who had to leave their country due to mainly religious pressures exerted on them after the wipe-out of Arabs from the Iberian Peninsula. On their arrival to Ottoman Empire from Spain in 1492, Jews brought printing machines with them. Ottoman sultan gave special permission to publish in Hebrew and later in Greek, Armenian, Suryanian and Latin but not in Turkish. So, for centuries no book was

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Tantekin-Ersolmaz, S. B., & Saglamer, G., & Ekinci, E. (2004, June), Engineering Education In Turkey Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12789

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