Boğaziçi University students respond to remarks of Turkey’s ‘uncertified dictator’

The students of Boğaziçi University have made a critical response to Turkey’s Islamist authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements claiming that Boğaziçi University, one of the top universities in the country, is engaged in activities against Turkish values, Turkish people and Turkish state.

Federation of Ideas Club, a left-leaning student club in Boğaziçi University, has released a statement regarding President Erdoğan’s expression stating that Boğaziçi University could not reach its goals with full value because it did not follow the values of this nation, reports TR724 news portal.

In the statement, members of the Federation of Ideas Club (FKF) at Bosphorus University said, “Turkey is not you.” Making a reference to President Erdoğan’s remarks, the members of FKF pointed out that President Erdoğan is a “uncertified dictator” by noting that there was an activity participated by the President Erdoğan without diploma on Sunday.

“…We as the students of Boğaziçi University, we are the children of the Republic. We are the 90th generation, and we are on Gezi Park Protests of 2013’s shoulders.”, told the students.

By emphasizing that Turkey’s Islamic party has been attempting to make the university rootless for years, it was stated that this overheated debate has no purpose other than marginalizing it.

In fact, the federation also declared that they are not afraid of the government by saying, “You thought we are frightened off by your public enemy history telling picturing Turkey as one of Middle East country, did not you?”

Founded in 1863, Boğaziçi University is one of the major research universities in Turkey. It was ranked as the best university in Turkey on U.S. News & World Report , and among the top five according to Times Higher Education Rankings .

The previous Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, who also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Erdoğan governments, has a doctoral degree from Boğaziçi, while former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller taught economics there.

The university is known for its liberal atmosphere and was one of the few institutions which stood against the Islamic headscarf ban implemented by previous governments.

But Erdoğan’s resentment against Boğaziçi University is not new. Following the failed coup attempt in July 2016, Turkish government has declared a state of emergency and issued a series of executive decrees that limit political rights and vastly expanded the president’s powers.

Erdoğan on November 2016 has used his executive powers to overrule Boğaziçi University’s internal elections and appointed the current university president Mehmet Özkan. Dozens of academics signed a statement in protest, saying that the abolition of university elections violate academic independence, Turkish news outlet Duvar has reported at the time.

The issue of whether President Erdoğan has taken a formal university education or not has been a major subject of debates in Turkey in recent years. Possessing a university diploma is one of the eligibility requirements for serving as a President of Turkey according to Turkish constitution. However, many politicians and media outlets have claimed that Erdoğan doesn’t have a valid university diploma.

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