December 1, "Antarctica Day" was celebrated with the exhibition titled "Chile and Türkiye Exploring Antarctica Together", organized in cooperation with theEmbassy of the Republic of Chile in Ankara and TÜBİTAK. Rodrigo Arcos Castro, Ambassador of Chile to Türkiye, Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK, and Prof. Dr. Burcu Özsoy, President of TÜBİTAK MRC and Director of TÜBİTAK MRC Polar Research Institute attended to the opening of the exhibition.
“Understanding our past and future depends on polar sciences.”
Speech at the opening ceremony, Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK, said, “I would like to emphasize that understanding the past and future of our world is highly dependent on polar sciences and cooperation in this field. The Polar Regions have contributed to maintaining environmental balance for centuries. Now, the same regions are most rapidly affected by emissions. This year, Antarctica Day has a special meaning as it coincides with the first days of the 2023 Climate Change Conference COP28.”
"Already this year, every month since June 2023 has been the hottest month in the history of humankind.” And Prof. Dr. Mandal, reminding that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that 2023 will be the recorded hottest year, said, “In the context of polar science and research, including collaboration, we can only produce more effective solutions by working together."
Prof. Dr. Mandal stated, “The National Polar Science Program in Türkiye is carried out under the auspices of the Presidency and the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Technology. This multidisciplinary program encompasses earth sciences, physical sciences, life sciences, social, and humanities. Through this program, we conduct national science expeditions, research projects, and international collaborations and facilitate the exchange of scientists among scientific bases. We are also progressing towards the establishment of the Turkish Antarctic Research Station on Horseshoe Island. We are deeply honored by the strong collaboration with Chile and Chilean researchers that we celebrate today.”
"This year, on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye, we carried out the 7th National Antarctic Science Expedition. This expedition included 22 scientists and 18 projects," shared Mandal, adding, "The vision of our new 12th Development Plan, covering the years 2024-2028 for the Republic of Türkiye, also focuses on environmentally friendly sustainable development. The plan emphasizes the support for National Polar Science Expeditions as well as scientific activities in the field of polar sciences."
“The exhibition will later be opened to the public at TÜBİTAK Science Centers”
Prof. Dr. Mandal said, “This exhibition will later be opened to the public at TÜBİTAK Science Centers. “We hope that our cooperation will spread to the Chilean National Research and Development Agency and other countries.” made the call.
Prof. Dr. Mandal said, “We see that effective R&D and innovation ecosystems that embrace collaboration based on co-creation by working together and achieving success can overcome challenges. He concluded his speech by saying, "I wish success to all guests for further cooperation for our common future."
“The importance of the exhibition “Chile and Türkiye Explore Antarctica Together”
Through this exhibition, in cooperation with the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chilean Antarctic Institute, the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, the Embassy of Chile in Türkiye, and TÜBİTAK MRC Polar Research Institute, the importance of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding on Antarctic Cooperation between Chile and Türkiye, which emphasizes and promotes the interest of both countries to work jointly on the White Continent, was highlighted.
Through their Antarctic expeditions and programs, Chile and Türkiye have developed a close friendship and cooperation in many projects, including the establishment of the first Turkish Antarctic Research Station (TARS) on Horseshoe Island.
In addition, on the occasion of this exhibition, a reference was made to Chilean Antarctic Day, celebrated on November 6.
What is Antarctica Day?
Antarctica, which does not have territorial sovereignty of any country, was signed by 12 countries (USA, Soviet Union, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, France, England, Chile, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa) in Washington, USA, on December 1, 1959, and is protected under a special status by the Antarctic Treaty, which came into force in 1961. The Antarctic Treaty, to which 56 countries have been parties to date, aims to use the continent for peaceful purposes forever for the benefit of all humanity. With this agreement, activities other than supporting science are prohibited, while scientific studies and the sharing of the data obtained as a result are supported.
The extraction of natural resources on the continent for non-scientific purposes is impossible. The Antarctic Treaty is continuously monitored by the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), where countries are represented by high-level officials and strong delegations. During these meetings, new decisions related to the continent are also made. Based on the idea proposed during the 50th-anniversary meeting held in 2009, a decision was taken to celebrate December 1 as "Antarctica Day" and since 2010, Antarctica Day has been regularly celebrated.
Our country joined the Antarctic Treaty as a signatory in 1995. Thus, the way was opened for many activities, including our country's ability to work on the White Continent at the national level and to be among the decision-making authorities on the continent.
Antarctica Day is celebrated regularly in our country annually by TÜBİTAK MRC Polar Research Institute with various events.
This year, the 7th National Polar Sciences Symposium and the 3rd Polar Festival, which traditionally takes place annually, will be held at Yıldız Technical University in Istanbul on December 4-5.