In Turkey, Prof. Dr. Sanem Baykal is currently one of the doyen senior experts in the field of “EU Law”. But of course, it wasn’t easy for her to get to this stage. She happened to know about the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme when she started to work as a research assistant at Ankara University in the field of European Union Law in 1994. The basis of her succesful career was initialised with the Jean Monnet scholarship she was granted for her Master’s Degree from the University of London.
Working as a Deputy Minister at Ankara University European Research Center (ATAUM) since October 2013, Sanem Baykal has settled the basis of her career in the fields of “EU Law” and “Turkey-EU Relations” always with her education and academic knowledge.
Could tell us a little about yourself? How has your career changed until you get to this point?
I graduated from the Faculty of Law of Ankara University (A.U.) in 1990. In February 1992, I started working as a research assistant in the department of EC at the Institute of Social Sciences in Ankara University. I completed my Master’s Degree in the field of “European Law” at the University of London with the Jean Monnet scholarship, and did my PhD in the field of EU Law at Ankara University in 2001. In 2003, I was appointed as an assistant professor to the department of EU Law at the Faculty of Law in Ankara University. In the 2004-2005 academic year, I was granted a scholarship as a “Hauser Research Scholar” by the Faculty of Law in New York University (NYU) as a result of which I conducted a post doctoral research under the “Emile Noel Fellow” program in the Jean Monnet Center.
I’ve been working as the head of the department of EU Law at the Faculty of Law in A.U. since June 2006, and as the head of the department of EU and International Economic Relations at Institute of Social Sciences in A.U. since September 2010. In December 2006, I took the title of “Associate Professor of EU Law”, and in January 2014 I was appointed as a professor to the Faculty of law in Ankara University. I was assigned as the “Head of the Directorate on EU Law” in the Turkish Ministry of European Union Relations from 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2012 in accordance with Article 38 of the Law on the Council of Higher Education. Since 2013, I have undertaken the position of Deputy Head of the A.U. European Research Center (ATAUM). I have works in the fields of “EU Law” and “Turkey-EU Relations” such as books, articles, declaration, book section published both in Turkey and abroad. I have been serving as a lecturer in bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes at the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Political Sciences in Ankara University and METU. Also, I am taking part in several projects and educational seminars.
When and for which institution did you benefit from the Jean Monnet scholarship programme while you were working for that institution?
I was granted while working as an assistant at Ankara University in 1993-1994 academic year.
At which university and which subject did you study with Jean Monnet scholarship programme?
Being registered to Queen Mary College; I completed my Master’s Degree in the field of European Law under the Master’s of Law Programme (LLM) delivered jointly at that time by SOAS, King’s, LSE, UCL and Queen Mary colleges of the University of London.
After returning to Turkey, how did the Jean Monnet scholarship programme contribute to your career?
I already started working as a research assistant at Ankara University in the field of European Union Law when I was given the Jean Monnet scholarship. In the very beginning of my academic career, it was very important for me to complete my Master’s Degree with Jean Monnet scholarship and get to know the academic area there for my future academic works. It enabled me to have the perspective and knowledge effecting my career in a positive way with the lectures from the leading lecturers in my field and getting the chance to meet them. Also, this opportunity provided me to go back to University of London to carry out my PhD studies as well as to keep long-term friendships since then.
How did Jean Monnet scholarship programme change your perspective to the European Union?
In fact, I had already decided on having an academic career in the field of EU Relations when I was granted with the Jean Monnet scholarship. The post graduate studies I conducted in England had a huge contribution for me to understand that my decision had been very accurate in this process and the fact that my area is an enjoyable, dynamic area and a platform opening to different perspectives and broadening my horizon.
What would you like to recommend to Jean Monnet scholarship’s candidate scholars?
I can advise them to benefit from this high-valued opportunity in the best ways for self-improvement and their careers as well as for the future of economic, political and public development of our country and her relations with the EU. Still, I assume that they shouldn’t miss the chance to experience what it’s like to meet with different people, different cultures and different places, explore themselves and learn new things among these differences.