Students debate tuition fee cancellation talks

Students debate tuition fee cancellation talks

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Students debate tuition fee cancellation talks

Two students who staged a protest in 2010 to demand free education were sentenced to eight years and five months in prison today by a Turkish court recently. The students unfurled a banner that read ‘We want free education, we will get it.’ DHA Photo

University students have approached Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remark that “he [had] decided to abolish [the] tuition fees of universities” with suspicion. The prime minister had made the announcement July 25 in a private broadcast.

“Of the fees, 1.2 billion Turkish Liras were paid as education loans to students. This [financial support] comes from the state, however, ideological demonstrations were held [against the government]” Erdoğan said.

 University student Ferhat Tüzer, who was sentenced to eight years in prison under the charge of creating terrorist propaganda after staging a protest demanding free education, said he does not believe Erdoğan’s words.

“In line with the government’s privatization policies, they will increase the dormitory fees or food prices after the new regulation. They will give an inch and take a mile I believe,” Tüzer told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Oğuz Çolak, a student from Istanbul Technical University and a member of Öğrenci Kolektifleri (Students’ Collectives) said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would never support free education.

“Their only goal is to make profit by privatization,” he said.

Erdoğan nevertheless seems intent on his plan. “I hope we will not receive tuition fees, and this subject will be off the agenda. However, certain groups will still unfurl another banners or throw eggs” Erdoğan said.

“A university student also can be a murderer or engage in terrorist activities,” Erdoğan said when asked what he thought about the number of students arrested for holding demonstrations.

Erdoğan said the subject was brought to the agenda at the Council of Ministers. Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek was expected to meet Gökhan Çetinsaya, the president of the Higher Education Council of Turkey (YÖK) yesterday for a talk on the new regulation according to reports.

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