President Erdoğan directly appoints rector to Boğaziçi University, former rector ends academic career
ISTANBULPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Nov. 12 appointed Professor Mehmed Özkan as rector to Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, marking the first such move after he was given the authority to directly appoint rectors following the latest state of emergency decree. Former rector Gülay Barbarosoğlu announced she will end her academic career.
“I’m leaving the university that I’ve contributed to as a student, academic and a director for 40 years. I’m also ending my academic career,” Barbarosoğlu said in a statement late on Nov. 12, as she thanked her co-workers and students.
“I’m sure that Boğaziçi University will maintain its existence in the future with the help of its history, tradition, principles and outstanding cadre,” she added.
Özkan, who is a lecturer at the university’s biomedical engineering department, was not among the candidates for rectorship elections in July.
The authority to directly appoint rectors without having to consider the preferences of academics was given to the president after the imposition of a state of emergency decree on Oct. 29.
In a press announcement on Nov. 1, some 350 academics at the university denounced the changes, recalling that the university chose its rector on July 12, reelecting the popular current rector Gülay Barbarosoğlu, who won 86 percent of the vote on a turnout of 90 percent.
The regulation brings an end to the practice introduced in 1992, which states that rector candidates are elected by the academics at the universities in question before being presented to the president, who can either accept the recommendation or choose another academic as rector.
It was also a part of an omnibus bill that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sought to pass after the attempted July 15 coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, but was retracted after the opposition parties fought against it.
According to the new regulation, the president will choose from three rector candidates determined by Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) for state universities. However, the president will be able to appoint a rector directly if he does not select one of those presented by YÖK within a month and the body does not present a new candidate. The rectors will be able to work for a maximum of two terms in state universities.