The crisis faced by Slovenia and part of the eurozone is a result of a lack of productivity and value added in the economy, the new minister told the event at Brdo pri Kranju.
While the solutions are two: to work for less or to work things of higher value, Turk said Slovenia's opportunity was in creating the conditions for knowledge and creativity to develop into business ideas that create jobs.
In the minister's view the time of crisis is an opportunity to create the conditions that would enable Slovenia to return to making its way among the world's most ambitious small countries.
Noting that knowledge and creativity are build into the coalition agreement, Turk said that the ministry headed by him was responsible for creating the conditions for Slovenia's way up.
The universities hold the key to the solution of the crisis, which is why Turk expects more of tertiary education institutions than just "lining up for budget money". He expects them to say what is right and to contribute to a fair distribution of the burden of the crisis.
A way out of crisis is in innovation, new ideas and expertise, not in saving. The latter will enable survival in the short run, but it is innovation that will enable prosperity in the long term, the minister said.
Speaking of opportunities in the challenges of the ageing population, prospective revolutions in energy, communication and medicine, Turk called for defining development priorities.
These need to be a result of a common reflection by the state, universities and the economy, the link among which has been too week so far, Turk said, pledging to work for dialogue between the government, companies and the academic sphere.
The minister expects tertiary education institutions to offer high-quality expertise, while his idea of the ministry is to be a service providing the best possible conditions in which universities can work.
The conference was also addressed by Thomas Estermann of the European University Association and Ulrich Teichler of the International Centre for Higher Education Research.