Boğaziçi University rector cancels panel discussion over gov’t critic speaker

Lawyer Serra Kadıgil, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Party Assembly.

Mehmed Özkan, the controversially-appointed rector of Turkey’s prestigious Boğaziçi University has cancelled a panel discussion that was set to host an outspoken government critic, Serra Kadigil.

The event, titled “Turkey’s 10 years, The Presidential Referendum and The Government Decrees: Quo Vadis?” was scheduled by the university’s political science student club to be held on Thursday.

“Our event was censored based on a ruling by the Rectorate which ‘prohibits hosting people affiliated with any political party as speakers at the university’,” said a statement by the club.

The Rectorate has asked the club to remove her speech from the program as Kadigil is known to be among public figures who announced to be voting “No” in the upcoming presidential referendum.

“We condemn the Rectorate’s decision and refuse to maintain the event under such conditions,” the statement further read.

Kadıgil, a lawyer and a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Party Assembly member, became a sudden celebrity following a recent media appearance in which she made pointed argument for ”No” vote on CNNTurk. The referendum is set to give more powers to the president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an executive presidency.

She was also briefly detained due to her tweets in late January.

The AK Party government issued two post-coup decrees in November, 2016, and canceled the intra-university elections that used to be held to elect university rectors.

Days after the decrees, Özkan was appointed by Erdoğan as the new rector of Boğaziçi University despite a different result from an intra-university election that was held prior to the decrees. ( Feb. 16, 2017

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