The rector of Boğaziçi University, Professor Mehmed Özkan, has cancelled a speech to be delivered by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairperson and party spokesperson Selin Sayek Böke at the university.
Böke was to have delivered a speech on the second day of an event titled “Leaders’ Summit” at the university on March 18-19.
The event is organized by the university’s management and economy club. Although Böke’s name was on the list of the speakers, Professor Özkan asked for her name to be removed from the list three days before the event.
The rector’s office has not made any statement concerning the decision about Böke; however, it was claimed that Rector Özkan said he would not allow political figures to speak at the university due to a state of emergency in the country which was declared in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt last July.
Professor Özkan was appointed rector of Boğaziçi University in a controversial move by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last November although another candidate and the university’s former rector, Professor Gülay Barbarosoğlu, received the highest number of votes in the intra-university elections. Özkan did not even run in the elections.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government issued two decrees late in October, which among other things canceled the intra-university elections that used to be held to elect university rectors. University rectors are appointed directly by the president now.
In the meantime, independent deputy Aylin Nazlıaka wrote from her Twitter account on Thursday that she received a call from the rector of Istanbul Bilgi University, who apologized to her for having to cancel a speech she was to deliver at the university because the rector was under great pressure from the government to do so.