Turkish deputy PM slams university in cyberattack row, says rector ‘fancies himself emperor’

Turkish deputy PM slams university in cyberattack row, says rector ‘fancies himself emperor’

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish deputy PM slams university in cyberattack row, says rector ‘fancies himself emperor’

AA photo

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Lütfi Elvan has slammed Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) Rector Prof. Ahmet Acar over the recent cyberattacks targeting websites with the extension “.tr,” saying the rector “fancied himself an emperor” as the row between government and the university continued to intensify with the recent cyber-crisis.

Elvan said on Dec. 25 the university had insisted on managing the targeted DNS servers rather than handing management to Turkey’s IT authority because Prof. Acar “fancies himself an emperor.”

“ODTÜ had taken responsibility for Internet in the international arena. However, we established the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK). The BTK had requested that this responsibility of the ODTÜ should have been handed over to the BTK via the Transportation Ministry. ODTÜ continues to insist on the issue, however, there are legislative regulations on the issue. I guess this rector fancies himself an emperor and everyone should know their place,” Elvan said, speaking at the editor’s desk meeting of the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Elvan reiterated that ODTÜ should hand over responsibility to BTK, defending that the university was not capable of providing national security.

“ODTÜ should hand over the responsibiliy it holds coming from the past to BTK. ODTÜ does not have a structure to provide our national security but it is a university,” Elvan said.

Prof. Acar had previously refuted claims by Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım over the recent cyberattacks, saying the university took “necessary measures” during the cyberattack.

However, Yıldırım had blamed ODTÜ over the cyberattacks, saying “insufficient measures” had been taken during the cyberattacks
Meanwhile, Turkish Science and Technology Minister Fikri Işık said necessary measures have been taken over the cyberattacks.

“Most of the necessary precautions have been taken. I am sure that we will not experience such intensive slowdown and access block to the system,” Işık said.

Işık also warned citizens not to open files from unknown sources.

“Nowadays, it will be good not to open Word documents coming from unknown addresses,” he added.

ODTÜ responds to claims 

Meanwhile, ODTÜ made a press statement on Dec. 25 over a separate row with the government over an alleged prayer room “provocation” between students. 

The university said a brawl, which erupted on Dec. 22, was not caused by insufficient religious places or the prevention of religious practices as was claimed but provocative interventions by an “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-like mentality” when new prayer room demands were being evaluated.

A brawl broke out between two groups at the university’s campus on Dec. 22 with one group demanding a new prayer room and another saying those who wanted a new prayer room made “ISIL propaganda.”

The university also said government figures would bear responsibility for any possible attacks against ODTÜ students over their remarks in line with their political intentions, referring to Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ankara deputy Aydın Ünal’s statements in which he said, “We can enter ODTÜ if required, like how we enter Cizre and Silopi,” following the brawl.

The university also vowed not to surrender to such collective provocation, while highlighting that it was up to the university to decide who manages the university amid calls for rector Professor Acar’s resignation on social media.