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Gov’t-appointed Boğaziçi University rector suspends 16 academics for involvement in protests

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Boğaziçi University rector Naci İnci, who was appointed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has suspended 16 academics over their participation in protests against presidentially appointed rectors at the school, Boğaziçi TV reported from its Twitter account, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

İnci vetoed the giving of courses by the academics, who have been teaching at the university for years, and ordered them to vacate their offices immediately. The academics had actively participated in protests and resistance against presidentially appointed rectors at Boğaziçi University.

The Industrial Engineering Department’s Dr. Tınaz Ekim Asıcı pointed out that this situation has already created myriad problems in the curricula of all departments, in an interview with the Cumhuriyet newspaper.

“They are opening disciplinary investigations into teachers with increasing speed and baseless excuses. By doing that, they are trying to instill fear and silence them, and they fire our professors from the university. They are rapidly emptying out Boğaziçi University and installing staff they appoint through the University Administrative Board and Senate,” Cumhuriyet quoted Asıcı as saying.

Presidentially appointed rectors had previously suspended other academics at Boğaziçi University. İnci recently suspended faculty of economics dean Dr. Ünal Zenginobuz for joining the protests and speaking out against rectors appointed by the president at Boğaziçi. The move sparked a reaction within the faculty, which published a statement in support of Zengiobuz.

A prolonged series of protests took place at Boğaziçi University after Erdoğan appointed Bulu, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Sarıyer district branch and former deputy chairman of the AKP’s İstanbul provincial chapter, as rector in January 2021.

Shortly after Bulu’s dismissal by a presidential decree in July 2021, the university community demanded that a democratic election be held at the university to elect a new rector, adding that they would not accept the appointment of a rector to replace Bulu, either from within or without the university, since they oppose the appointment of rectors by Erdoğan.

However, Erdoğan on August 20 appointed İnci, a former deputy to Bulu, as the new rector, despite a 95 percent disapproval rating he received in polls held among the university community to determine possible rector candidates, again prompting outrage among academics and students.

University staff members have been standing with their backs turned to the rectorate building every day in protest of the presidentially appointed rectors.

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