Historian becomes minister’s advisor after donating books to Turkish presidential library

Renowned Turkish historian Professor İlber Ortaylı was named an advisor to the culture and tourism minister shortly after he donated his personal library to the library of the presidential palace.

“İlber Ortaylı is the teacher of us all. He will make contributions on cultural issues as the minister’s advisor. We are all at the service of Turkish culture,” wrote Haluk Dursun, the deputy minister of culture and tourism, from his Twitter account on Monday.

Ortaylı met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara’s Beştepe neighborhood on Monday where he announced he was donating his books to the library of the presidential palace.

The historian has attracted widespread criticism for his move as it has been seen as an endorsement of the policies of Erdoğan, who has been carrying out an extensive crackdown on critics in the country over the past several years and is accused of establishing authoritarian rule.

The crackdown on critical thinking in Turkey with an unprecedented witch hunt targeting teachers, academics and other professionals in the education sector has dealt a huge blow to free thought in Turkey, according to a report released by the SCF.

The government of President Erdoğan has jailed some 20,000 instructors and arbitrarily fired 34,185 public school teachers and 5,719 academics including professors from state universities within the last two years alone. They were branded as “terrorists” and “coup plotters” without any effective administrative or judicial probe and as such marked for life.

The government shut down 1,069 privately run schools, most of which were the nation’s best performing science schools and were affiliated with the Gülen movement, and closed down 15 universities that were run by privately held foundations. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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