Protests grow over plan to split up universities

Protests grow over plan to split up universities

Protests grow over plan to split up universities

Protests are growing against a bill to split up 13 Turkish universities and set up new ones, with 5,000 academics signing a petition against the bill.

The bill submitted to the Turkish Parliament to split up several universities, including Istanbul, Gazi and Anadolu University, has sparked protests amid students and university staff.

The protesters initially gathered in front of the Istanbul University’s main gate at the city’s historic Beyazıt Square on April 24.

“What they are doing is tearing apart historical ties, abolishing shared values, cutting off roots. By doing this, they aim to control universities more easily … They want to manage the invaluable estates of the university through a divide and rule policy against faculties,” said Turkish Medical Association (TTB) head Prof. Raşit Tükel, a member of the Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine.

On April 26, patients and their relatives also joined protests against the bill at the Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine, daily Sözcü reported that day.

During the protests, student representative Kıvanç Yangı said a possible split of Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine from Istanbul University will impact the academic value of both in a negative way, daily Sözcü reported.

“Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine belongs to Istanbul University and Istanbul University is inseparable from its faculties,” Yangı said.

Meanwhile, students and university staff continued to protest the bill in Gazi University in the capital Ankara and Anadolu University in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir as well.

5,000 academics sign petition against bill

Some 5,000 academics have also signed a petition against the bill, Birgün daily reported on April 27.

“The bill attempts to split up and weaken several universities in Turkey, which have successfully contributed to science and education despite limited resources. It has been discussed without notifying or consulting our universities’ legitimate units,” the petition said.

“We cannot see any academic, financial or administrative reasons to split up our universities. The majority of skilled labor, which is involved in various sectors across Turkey, are graduates and members of large-scale and experienced universities,” it added.

Meanwhile, Vice Rector of Istanbul University Prof. Dr. Mert Savrun has been reported to have resigned from his post. Savrun was also a faculty member of the Cerrahpaşa School of Medicine, which shows one of the strongest reactions against the bill.

Faculty of communication not to be split because of Nobel Prize Laureate graduates

Meanwhile, it has been announced the Istanbul University Faculty of Communication will not be split up to protect the university’s status of having two Nobel Prize Laureate graduates, daily Habertürk reported on April 27.

Writer Orhan Pamuk and scientist Prof. Dr. Aziz Sancar, both graduates of Istanbul University, won the Nobel Prize in 2006 and 2015 respectively. Having Nobel Laureate graduates contributes to the ranking of universities.