Possession of the title of professor is no longer a criterion to be appointed as a university rector in Turkey, according to a recent government decree.
Government decree No. 703, which was issued by the Turkish government on Monday, has removed the phrase “individuals possessing the academic title of professor” from the relevant law governing the appointment of university rectors.
Currently, university rectors are appointed directly by the president in Turkey.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government issued two decrees in October 2016 which among other things canceled the intra-university elections that used to be held to elect university rectors.
According to the former system, universities held elections within their institutions, but the ultimate decision lay with the president. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted that the abolition of the election system would be beneficial for the country.
The move attracted widespread criticism in that it would eliminate universities’ autonomy.