Sadi Güven, the head of the Supreme Election Board, said he has no answer to give when asked about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s controversial bachelor’s degree.
Online news portal Diken spoke to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş and current Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) İstanbul deputy Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu – candidates other than Erdoğan in the Aug. 10, 2014 presidential election — confirming that YSK asked them to submit their degrees before the elections.
According to the Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution, candidates for the office of presidency are elected among the Grand National Assembly members that are over forty years of age and have completed higher education.
Upon confirmation, Diken also spoke to YSK head Sadi Güven and asked him whether Erdoğan also submitted his bachelor’s degree before the presidential elections. Güven replied: “I have no answer to your question.”
YSK also recently rejected a request by the former head of the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV), Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu, to search for President Erdoğan’s much-disputed bachelor’s degree and see if he meets the necessary requirement for being the president.
Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın commented on the ongoing diploma row on Wednesday, saying, “What are we expected to do? Should we make millions of copies of it and deliver them to people’s addresses? … Copies of the diploma have been shared on websites and with journalists. Our rector [of the Marmara University] made statements, as well. They have seen it’s a baseless [claim] themselves, but they have other concerns.”
The claim that Erdoğan does not have a degree has long been discussed in Turkey. The Marmara University in İstanbul released a copy of Erdoğan’s diploma after the claim; however, the released diploma caused more doubts. The released diploma named “School of Business Administration” as the department Erdoğan graduated from, however Erdoğan previously wrote in his CV that he graduated from “Faculty of Economics and Commercial sciences. The released diploma can now be reached online from Marmara University’s website.
Debates concerning the president’s graduation have started to increase lately. People spoke about the controversial bachelor’s degree on social media, with hashtags #DiplomasıDaSahte (His diploma is also fake), #HaniMişDiploma (Where is the diploma) and #YaDiplomaYaİstifa (Either [show the] diploma or resign!) becoming trending topics in Turkey and world lists.
Last Friday, Marmara University rector Mehmet Emin Arat said in a written statement that Erdoğan was a graduate from the university and the allegations on the social media that Erdoğan does not actually have a degree were “unfair” and “baseless.”