An İstanbul court has imposed an access ban on news reports and social media posts about Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ravza Kavakçı Kan, who on the day she was recruited by the İstanbul Municipality in 2008 went to the US to work on a Ph.D. on a scholarship from the municipality, Turkish media outlets reported on Tuesday.
According to the municipality, which was won by an opposition candidate in June after it was ruled by AKP mayors and their predecessors for around 25 years, Kan was recruited as a human resources specialist at Metro A.Ş., a subsidiary of the municipality, on Dec. 16, 2008. On the day, she was employed, Kan travelled to the US to earn a Ph.D. in political science on a scholarship from the municipality.
İstanbul’s new mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, also spoke about Kan’s case in early August and said he finds it difficult to understand why Metro A.Ş., which works on transportation, provided a five-year scholarship to one of its employees so that she could get a Ph.D. in political science in the US.
İmamoğlu also said Kan did not perform the compulsory work at the municipality, required for four years, 11 months in return for using the municipality’s resources.
Kan returned from the US in September 2013 and was elected to parliament in 2015. During her five years of doctoral work in the US, Kan was paid a monthly stipend of one-and-a-half times the minimum wage in Turkey.
Kan is the sister of Merve Kavakçı, who was Turkey’s first headscarved deputy, elected to parliament in 1999 from the now-closed Virtue Party. Kavakçı caused an uproar when she wore her headscarf to a swearing-in ceremony in parliament in what some saw as defiance of the secular Turkish Constitution. At that time Turkish law banned the wearing of Islamic-style headscarves in public institutions.
The incident led to the revoking of Kavakçı’s Turkish citizenship after she was found to have acquired US citizenship without informing the authorities; hence, she was prevented from serving in parliament.
Kavakçı was appointed Turkey’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur in 2017 by the AKP government.