2023 Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award Winners Announced

The Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards, which have been held for 18 years following the will of Sabancı University Honorary President Sakıp Sabancı, rewarded young researchers and a scientist who have made significant contributions to academic studies in the field of republicanism within the scope of this year's theme, "The 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye: Republicanism in Theory and Application".

Sakıp Sabancı Uluslararası Araştırma Ödülleri

At the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards and Commemoration Ceremony, the Special Jury Prize was awarded to Philip Pettit, the L.S. Rockefeller Professor of Human Values at Princeton University since 2002 and Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University since 2012.


In her speech at the online ceremony, Founding Chair of Sabancı University Board of Trustees Güler Sabancı said, “We came together for our 18th Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards and Commemoration Ceremony. However, our minds and hearts are in our 11 cities that experienced earthquake disasters. On February 6 and after, we witnessed one of the greatest disasters our country has experienced. More than 50 thousand of our citizens lost their lives. Our University's preparatory class student Neris Ece Öz is among these losses that deeply saddened us. It's a huge pain. On this occasion, I wish God's mercy on all our citizens, including our esteemed student Neris Ece, who lost their life, my condolences to their relatives, and a speedy recovery to our injured. Condolences to all of us and heartfelt good wishes to our country".


Expressing that the International Research Awards were realized following the will of the late Sakıp Sabancı, the Honorary Chair of Sabancı University, Güler Sabancı said that the award program reflects the future of society while evaluating the present day with a different theme each year, and while doing this, it acts based on the universality of science. Güler Sabancı continued as follows:

“Our duty in the new century of our republic is to continue to progress in the light of science, with the ideal of a better future for our young people. Even though we are going through difficult times, while we heal our wounds today, we should aim to heal our future at the same time with our belief in unity and togetherness. As my dear Uncle Late Sakıp Sabancı always said: We have to work, work and work hard.”

Güler Sabancı said, “We will continue our studies with our University based on science. We will do our best to leave these difficult days brought by earthquakes and disasters behind and carry our country to brighter days.”


Güler Sabancı

Stating that at Sabancı University, they believe in the power of “creating and developing together”, Güler Sabancı continued as follows:

“Türkiye’s new century should be the century of equal opportunities in education, gender equality, social development, contribution to regional and global peace, and growth with wisdom, principles, and sustainability. Just as our country struggled for liberation with great ideals, it is strong enough to overcome the difficulties it faces today, by working together, as long as we give priority to the education of the young people to whom we will entrust our Republic and do not stray from the path of science. Our biggest goal has always been to raise individuals with a “free mind, free conscience, free knowledge”. In this way, we support scientific thought at all times and in every field. The Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards also respond to an important need and lead the way as the only global-scale award program in Türkiye in the field of social sciences. The Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards, established to cover subjects including Turkish and Islamic Art, Türkiye’s history, economy, and sociology, focus on the benefit that can be achieved through collective wisdom.”


Expressing that he is honored to participate in an event on such an important subject as the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye, which has historical significance in the world, and to be found deserving of an award by the jury of the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards, Philip Pettit stated that his work focuses on the best laws, the best institutions, and the best policies furthering the ideals in the different areas of public life. Talking about neo-republicanism in his speech, Pettit said: “I am going to present republicanism as in contrast to great rivals: On the one hand neo-liberalism and on the other hand neo-populism. Neo-liberalism has something in common with neo-republicanism. That is a dedication to the ideal of freedom. But there is a big difference between how the neo-liberal understands freedom and how the new-republican understands it. For the neo-liberal, you are free in a choice just as far as no one actively interferes in that choice. About the market, neo-liberals say, relationships in the market whether between an employer and an employee or between a consumer or a producer, there is always a contract. You enter into a contract. That means you agree to what happens and you are not interfered with.”

Philip Pettit


Stating that the market economy is fundamental for neo-republicans as well, but that volunteer work is seen as dangerous in such situations where the alternative is poverty, Pettit continued: “According to republican view, freedom does not just require non-interference, but also it requires the absence of domination of someone with the power to interfere in your life more or less at their will. Neo-republicans say that we need laws to protect people against private domination to enable each to be able to look others in the eye even those wealthier than they or even those stronger than others. This introduces us second problem which is the problem of public domination. Neo-populists say that let people control what the government does. According to neo-populists, people control government just and only by electing to power those who hold government. Neo-republicans oppose that view of popular control over the government of the kind that reduces the domination power of government Republicans argue that, apart from the elections, you need other forms of control such as the constitution and constitutional authorities, independent media, and NGOs.”

Noting that the first translation of the book Republicanism, which he published in 1997, was into Turkish, Pettit said, “That’s got a particular relevance in this context. I was very struck by why it would be appealed and why Türkiye is so interested in this tradition. Off course, Türkiye is a republic famously established by Atatürk. I began to come aware of what a republic meant in a country that was very different from Australia where I lived all the time."

Born in Ireland, Philip Pettit is a philosopher and political theorist who has a leading role in the field of republicanism as a thought, and who guides research in this field.


Makale Ödülleri Kazanan

The evaluation of the applications submitted in the award program, which is led by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabancı University, is carried out by an independent and international jury. Within the scope of the award program, a different theme is determined every year from all fields of social sciences, from economics to politics, history, and psychology.

This year's essay award winners were Dolunay Bulut from The New School for Social Research, Burak Tan from the University of Chicago, and Banu Turnaoğlu Açan from Sabancı University.

Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards Ceremony can be watched via this link.