Boğaziçi University to open two new faculties by presidential order

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a presidential order to establish law and communication faculties in Boğaziçi University, along with 14 faculties in 12 other universities.

The order, to be published on Saturday in Turkey’s official gazette, also shut down 16 institutes and departments in seven universities.

While many in Turkey lamented the end of a running joke that Boğaziçi didn’t have a faculty of law, a Twitter account run by Boğaziçi students said:

“Those who appointed Melih Bulu as rector one night in a top-down decision now open faculties of law and communication for him. Melih Bulu is a freak of the law!”

The tweet message ended with the hashtags, “Establish your faculties in your palace” and “Melih Bulu Resign”.

According to data released by Turkey’s Higher Education Council in 2018, among Turkey’s top law faculties Istanbul University had 102 members of faculty, Ankara University had 66, Galatasaray University had 32, while the top five law faculties in the country have 318 members of faculty among them, law portal Türkiye Hukuk reported.

With the new cadres to be created, Erdoğan will have the opportunity to appoint an estimated 40 to 70 academics to the law faculty alone in the prestigious university that has been protesting the president’s appointment of Rector Melih Bulu, a ruling party loyalist, since January.

The Anadolu University in central Anatolian Eskişehir province had the biggest communications faculty in 2012 according to a report by news website Bianet, with 56 members of faculty, while the tenth largest communiations faculty, in Istanbul’s private Bahçeşehir University, has 26. The average of top ten communications faculties comes to 38 academics.

 Meanwhile, in demonstrations against Rector Bulu’s appointment in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Adana provinces, police detained at least 84 people. On Thursday, two students had been arrested, adding to another two arrested in previous days.

Friday also saw academics from Turkey’s other top higher education institution, the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, stage a protest in their campus to show support for Boğaziçi protesters.

METU’s rector Verşan Kök was also appointed by Erdoğan, sparking protests and discussions at the time.

“The problems we have had don’t only pertain to Boğaziçi University,” METU academics said in a statement read at the demonstration. “They are the problems of all of Turkey’s universities, and considering their possible negative effects, problems of Turkey.”

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.