A group of Turkish scientists started their journey from Istanbul to Antarctica on Friday to set up Turkey’s first scientific research base in Antarctica.
Before their departure, the director of the Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center (also known as ITU PolReC) told reporters at Ataturk Airport that they will work to realize a scientific base in Antarctica.
Burcu Ozsoy said nine scientists are starting the journey to conduct pre-feasibility studies in Antarctica.
“Our target is to set up a research base to open our studies to Turkish scientists,” she stressed, hailing the work as a contribution to Turkey moving from its observer status to consultative party status on the continent.
Ozsoy highlighted that consultative party status was important as only such countries have voting power relating to Antarctica.
The scientists will try to determine the best location for the planned research base.
In April last year, in a historic first, a team of 14 Turkish researchers, including medical doctors, botanists, survey and geological engineers, and oceanographers from seven Turkish universities went to Antarctica on a scientific mission to study the impact of climate change.
Antarctica serves as a scientific preserve since the Antarctica Treaty was signed in Washington in 1959, of which Turkey is a party.
The continent is considered the coldest on earth. The lowest temperature there was recorded in 1983 at minus 89 degrees Celsius (minus 128 Fahrenheit). In the summer, the temperatures rises to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) or minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).
Turkey’s first polar research center PolRec was established in 2015.
The mission of the center is to carry out research on the Antarctic and develop Turkey’s visibility in the international scientific community.
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