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Erdoğan appoints higher education board chairman as his advisor

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Yekta Saraç (R)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has removed the chairman of Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK), Yekta Saraç, from his position and appointed him as one of his advisors, Turkish media reported on Friday.

Erdoğan appointed Erol Özvar, the rector of Marmara University, as the new head of YÖK. Since Özvar was not a member of YÖK, Erdoğan first appointed him as a member and then as chairman because YÖK chairpersons are supposed to be appointed from among the membership.

Özvar, an expert in economy history, has authored many books on the Ottoman Empire.

The decision on the appointment of Özvar as chairman of YÖK was published in the Official Gazette.

Saraç allegedly had a disagreement with Erdoğan over the controversial appointment of Melih Bulu as the rector of Boğaziçi University.

Erdoğan’s appointment of Bulu as rector of Boğaziçi in January immediately sparked anger over the president’s influence on educational institutions. He had to remove him from office after six months of widespread protests by students and academics.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Erdoğan are widely criticized for filling state posts with their cronies and disregarding merit-based assignments.

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