Suspicions on Erdoğan’s university degree continues during election campaigns

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce on Monday visited the university he graduated from and distributed the photocopies of his diploma in western province Balıkesir, left-wing Birgün newspaper reported

Certfying university graduation is at the centre of the upcoming elections on June 24, as there are allegations that president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not have a university degree, which is a requirement for being a presidential candidate.   

According to President Erdogan's official biography, he graduated from Marmara University's Economic and Commercial Sciences Faculty in 1981. However, according to Marmara University’s web site the Faculty was established in 1982. 

The controversy in Turkey around President Erdoğan’s university diploma started in 2014, when Erdoğan moved to presidency,  but no evidence of his university degree has yet been presented.

The remaining candidates for the presidency have been teasing Erdoğan about his university degree, since the beginning of the election campaign. 

On May 17, Selahattin Demirtaş, former chair and presidential candidate of the mainly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) disclosed his assets by following the call from Transparency International’s brach in Turkey, along with a picture of his university diploma. Demirtaş graduated from  Ankara University Faculty of Law in 1998.

During a mass rally in early May, Meral Akşaner, the leader and the presidential candidate of the right-wing İYi Party criticised Erdğan’s education policies. “You spitted on education. What can we do, you do not have a diploma? You did not have higher education. Let the children have education,” Akşener said. Akşaner is a graduate of İstanbul University, Department of History. 

A minor left-wing party on May 24 applied to the Supreme Board of Elections claiming that  Erdoğan should be disqualified as a presidential candidate, since as he allegedly does not hold a university degree.