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Erdoğan orders shutdown of university linked to political rival: report

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ordered the closure of a university in İstanbul linked to a rival and former prime minister, according to a decree published Tuesday, AFP reported.

The private İstanbul Şehir University was established in 2008 by a foundation whose founders included ex-premier Ahmet Davutoğlu, but it became mired in controversy after he quit Erdoğan’s ruling party in September of last year.

Davutoğlu set up his Future Party (GP) three months later, and experts say it seeks to peel away voters from Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The university first had its assets frozen late last year when an Istanbul court ruled against it in a dispute over payments with Halkbank.

Then control of the university, owned by the Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BISAV), was transferred to Marmara University in December before the state took control of BISAV itself in January by installing trustees.

A presidential decree signed by Erdoğan on Monday but published overnight said the “university’s permission to conduct any activities has been withdrawn.”

The university was once a beacon for conservatives, heralding what they believed was a new period where secular institutions would not dominate the modern Turkish Republic.

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