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YSK no longer requires presidential candidates to provide copy of diploma

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO / AFP PHOTO / YOSHIKAZU TSUNO

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has eliminated an obligation requiring candidates for presidential and parliamentary elections to provide a copy of their diploma indicating the level of education completed.

The YSK’s decision was published in the Official Gazette on Monday.

Earlier, presidential and parliamentary candidates were required to provide a copy of their diploma, approved by a notary public or officials of a political party, to the YSK to be able to run in elections.

The YSK’s move has rekindled debates about whether current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a university degree. Erdoğan is the presidential candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the presidential election to be held on June 24.

A university degree is a prerequisite for presidential office in Turkey.

There has been an ongoing debate since Erdoğan’s election in 2014 as to his completion or not of university since the Office of the President has provided no satisfactory documentation of his graduation.

Despite several calls for Erdoğan to produce an original copy of his four-year college degree to prove that he qualifies to be president, no evidence has been forthcoming proving the completion of studies.

It has been argued that the diploma query system of Marmara University, the college Erdoğan attended, was shut down by a court verdict dated July 18, 2014.

Despite challenges for Erdoğan to introduce his college classmates, there have not been any, while Erdoğan often refers to his high-school classmates.

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