The aim of SRII is to promote academic research on Turkey, the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Among the many fields of study represented at the Institute are Archaeology, Art and Architectural History, Classical and Byzantine Studies, Educational Studies, General History, with the emphasis on Ottoman and modern Turkish history, Political Science, including International Relations, Religion, Social Anthropology, Sociology as well as West and Central Asian Languages and Literatures.
Sweden has several research and dialogue institutes in the Mediterranean region. The ones in Rome, Athens and Istanbul, respectively, receive an annual grant from the Swedish Ministry of Education for administration and rents. On 22 October, without any prior consultation or pre-warning, we were informed that the new state budget to be presented the next day by the Government would contain a proposal to the effect that all subsidies to these institutes were to be cut by 2017.
In reality this means that the targeted institutes would have to be closed down and that their presence in the region since the 1920s onwards would come to a sudden end. Massive protests have been launched against this proposal from both academics and journalists, first and foremost in Sweden but also elsewhere. Together with my fellow Directors in Rome and Athens I am grateful for such strong support and mobilization, which we do need for our struggle in order to protect our Institutes from threatening assaults of this character.
The fight will go on. In the meantime, for those of you who are able to decode a text in Swedish, please read a short article about the significance of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, written by myself and the Deputy Director Önver Cetrez and published on www.svd.se.