Bilgi University rector resigns
Önder Öndeş – ISTANBULIstanbul Bilgi University Rector Mehmet Durman resigned from his position on July 1 in the wake of controversy at the educational institution over the contentious dismissal of one of its professors over political reasons.
Durman said his resignation should not be linked to the recent developments at the university, noting that his resignation was the outcome of a process. The school’s former rector, Professor Remzi Sanver, was named as Durman’s replacement.
“Our graduations have been completed. Everything has been completed. Thus we have ended a successful academic year. As of today, I have resigned from my position. This is something completely personal. I would not like it to be associated with recent developments. This is a process,” said Durman, who will continue to work in the university’s mechanical engineering department.
Bilgi University announced the dismissal of Professor Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğlu on its website on June 16, a day after a number of pro-government media outlets criticized the academic for her remarks in class describing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as “vulgar and rude.”
According to the statement, the university swiftly ordered an investigation into the claims and severed connections with Balıkçıoğlu as soon as reports surfaced in the media.
Upon Balıkçıoğlu’s dismissal, Professor Christoph K. Neumann, another professor at the school, resigned.
“It does not comply with the existence of academic freedoms to dismiss professor Zeynep for expressing her ideas during lectures [with] no questions asked,” Neumann wrote in his resignation letter, which was addressed to the rector’s office.