Boğaziçi students ask Erdoğan to respect elections, autonomy of university

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Students from one of Turkey’s top universities called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a video message released on Facebook on Friday, to respect the elections for rector held at the university and to refrain from interfering with the freedom and autonomy of the institution.

The video, which quickly went viral among university students, included a message from the students criticizing Erdoğan’s office for failing to appoint a rector despite the fact that three months have passed since the election for rector was held, on July 12.

Underlining that the video message represents the common voice of academics, students and administrative staff at the university, the Boğaziçi students noted, “Even though Gülay Barbarosoğlu received 86 percent of the vote in the election, the official appointment still has not been made in the past three months.”

Professor Barbarosoğlu has been serving as the rector of the university since 2012 after she was appointed by former President Abdullah Gül, and she came first in the last election on July 12. However, no formal appointment has been made by President Erdoğan despite the passage of three months.

Being a top university especially in social sciences, a majority of academics and students at Boğaziçi University are known for their critical stance against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Erdoğan.

By law, the Turkish president can appoint any of the candidates who were proposed to the Office of the President by the Higher Education Board (YÖK). YÖK selects the top three names after an election at a Turkish university and proposes them to the presidency for the appointment of one of them as rector.

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