YÖK responds to Erdoğan’s ‘request’ to eliminate assistant professorship status

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and YŞK chairman Yekta Saraç (R)

Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) Chairman Yekta Saraç has said they started working on removal of the position of assistant professor after Turkey’s autocratic President Tayyip Erdoğan called on YÖK to review the status.

“After our president’s statements we decided on the same day to form a working group. … I would like to say that a concrete proposal will be made in a very short period of time,” said Saraç.

Erdoğan, who spoke on Wednesday during a meeting organized by YÖK, asked the board to review the position of assistant professor, which he said was invented to waste people’s time and that there was a need for full professors.

Saraç, who was appointed as the chairman of YÖK on Nov. 11, 2014, was reappointed to the position by Erdoğan on July 20.

The name of Yekta Saraç’s brother, Fatih Saraç, attracted public attention when a voice recording leaked on the Internet on June 4, 2014 showed that Erdoğan, then prime minister, called the editor of Haberturk TV, Fatih Saraç, and asked him to remove a news scroll quoting Nationalist Movement Party leader (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli.

The recording was telling in that it revealed Erdoğan’s censorship of the media and how his words were immediately perceived as an order by the TV director, who was quoted as saying: “Yes, yes, OK sir, I will get to it right away, sir,” in response to Erdoğan’s “You must do it immediately.”

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