Universities now open up to political actions
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Two students who staged a protest in 2010 to demand free education were sentenced to eight years and five months in prison in June 2012 by a Turkish court. Hürriyet photo
Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) has announced its new legislation, which says that various political acts such as making political propaganda, including unfurling banners and distributing leaflets were removed from the category of disciplinary actions.
“[The former legislation] represented the interventionist and authoritarian characteristics of the post-coup period that began with Sept.12, 1980. It was a sort of reaction to the student upheavals in Turkey occurred before Sept. 12, and adopted the principle of depolitization. It also had a restricting approach to the right of organization and freedom of expression,”YÖK chairman Prof. Gökhan Çetinsaya said.
In the new legislation, various acts including unfurling banners and distributing leaflets were removed from the category of disciplinary actions. However, with the new legislation, a student who is expelled from a university will not be able to return to the same university again.
YÖK Executive Board Member Prof. Yavuz Atarstated that new actions were added to the category of disciplinary actions. Atar said the plagiarism in academic studies such as theses, projects and seminars has become a disciplinary action, and students damaging information system of the university, or providing unfair advantages by using the system without permission, will also be punished. Atar said with the new legislation, students will have the right to object to the disciplinary punishments.
Atar stated that the timeout factor was not present in the former legislation. However, with the new legislation, if a punishment is not given within the 2 years after the disciplinary action, there will be timeout.
The Turkish Justice Ministry recently announced that currently there were 2,824 students in Turkish prisons, prompting a reaction from the Turkish media. The ministry issued another written statement yesterday detailing the number of arrested students, noting that there were currently 186 university students in jail in Turkey and that 2,638 people were reported to be studying in distance-education programs.