Opposition presidential hopeful Muharrem İnce vows to halt division of universities
Muharrem Ince, centre, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, shines shoes as he sits with a street vendor during a visit.
“They have divided the nation, broken hearts, and are now trying to divide universities. But we will unite the nation, hearts and universities,” İnce said on May 24 during a visit to Istanbul University’s Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine.
Students and academics across Turkey have been protesting a recently approved bill that includes controversial measures to split up the faculties of Istanbul University, Turkey’s oldest institution of higher education.
The bill, approved by parliament on May 3, aims to transfer some Istanbul University faculties to a new to-be-founded university. The Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine will be among the faculties moved.
“Cerrahpaşa means healing. It means history … There are 300,000 students at New York University and there are 110,000 students at Istanbul University. New York University, despite having 300,000 students, is not being divided, but Istanbul University is being divided. The result is that Cerrahpaşa is losing, Istanbul University is losing, and Turkey is losing,” İnce said, addressing students, academics and health personnel in front of the dean’s office.
During his speech, slogans such as “Cerrahpaşa is ours, it will stay ours,” “Cerrahpaşa is our home, we’re not going anywhere,” were chanted by the crowd.
Cerrahpaşa students could also be seen gifting a stethoscope to İnce.