Though Jamia Millia Islamia conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, today, the relation between Jamia and Turkey is decades old.
While reading out the citation at an impressive event on the campus, Professor Talat Ahmad said Jamia’s role was hard to ignore given that some of the legendary founders of the university, like Dr MA Ansari, were the very people who led the Indian Medical Mission to Turkey to treat Ottoman soldiers wounded in the 1912-13 Balkan Wars.
President Erdogan said he was delighted to accept the honorary degree from a university which has played a significant role not only in India’s freedom movement but also in the way it supported the Khilafat movement in the 1920s and stood by the Turkish people and its founders.
Citing the commonness and familiarity between the Indian and Turkish cultures, he said “culture and education” were potential areas which could take the relationship between both countries to the next level.
Erdogan was honoured for “his contribution to strengthen international cooperation, peace and diplomacy as well as for his extraordinary humanitarian aid to millions of refugees”.
Jamia Chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) MA Zaki gave him the degree with other university top officials and students present at the auditorium.