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Omnibus law makes govt’s closure of private universities possible

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The Turkish Parliament has approved an omnibus bill which among other things makes it possible for the government to close down any private university in the country.

According to the new law, closure of private universities will be possible by a proposal from the country’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) and a decision from the Turkish cabinet.

Last month, the Turkish government already closed down 15 private universities in addition to hundreds of private schools, charities and other institutions over their links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The closure of these institutions was made possible by the first decree of a state of emergency rule, which was declared following a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The three-month state of emergency declared by the Turkish government gives the Turkish executive authority to pass laws without parliament’s support and limit rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.

The Turkish government and  Erdoğan that launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried their ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt last month.

Erdoğan has vowed to “cleanse” all Gülen supporters from the state apparatus and civil services, drawing concern from Turkey’s western allies over his increasingly authoritarian stance.

Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe and the coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence so far.

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