Turkish rector resigns after remarks over ‘obeying Erdoğan’
A university rector in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa has resigned after reactions over his remarks suggesting it is “an Islamic duty to obey” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“My personal remarks during a private broadcaster’s program were unfortunately manipulated and were attempted to be used to undermine our respected president. In order to not undermine my university and the office of the president, I am leaving my post,” Harran University Rector Prof. Ramazan Taşaltın said in a statement on Nov. 1.
“It is an Islamic duty [farz-ı ayn] to obey the president. Opposing the president, on the other hand, means you are a deserter [of Islam],” Taşaltın had allegedly said in a television program on Oct. 30.
The rector’s remarks were widely condemned, not only among the opposition, but also by members of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
Turkey’s Supreme Education Board (YÖK) also released a statement on Nov. 1 in which it confirmed Taşaltın’s resignation.
“As such, it is seen once again that it is important for all our esteemed educators in our academic community, and especially the administrators who hold offices for decision-making, to be measured, reasonable, scientific and respectful for social sensitivities in their words and actions,” the YÖK statement said.