Erdoğan may hire more hardline rector to Boğaziçi University - columnist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may appoint a more hardline official to head Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University after dismissing its rector last week, said Taha Akyol, a columnist for the Karar newspaper.

Some analysts have heralded the departure of rector Melih Bulu by presidential decree as a victory for students and academics protesting political interference in Turkey’s top higher education institution. Erdoğan has appointed Bulu’s deputy Mehmet Naci İnci as acting rector.

“I'm afraid that there is a possibility that the government may appoint a more biased and harsher name than Melih Bulu to "keep its word”, Akyol said on Monday.

Akyol said İnci had already moved to fire a university lecturer without seeking the opinion of the relevant department or faculty.

Bulu’s appointment by Erdoğan in January provoked protests by students at Boğaziçi and elsewhere. The government responded by ordering a police crackdown and accused protest organisers of acting like terrorists.

A mechanism for universities to appoint their own rectors was abolished by a state of emergency decree following a failed military coup in July 2016.

"With this understanding, one-year professors, professors who do not have publications in the index were appointed rectors!" Akyol said.

"The fundamental problem is the preference for “us” rather than academic values ​​predominates in the government's understanding of universities," he said. "The presidential system makes appointments to the central bank, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), and even higher judicial appointments, not on merit, but with priority of "us"."