May 10 2018

Turkish government stops university French courses

Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YÖK) has decreed that no students are to be admitted to French Language and Literature or French Language Teaching courses until further notice, pro-government Star newspaper said.

In making the decision, the council cited the low employability of French graduates and the fact that France did not have a corresponding bachelor’s degree-level programme in either Turkology or Turkish Language and Literature.

Nineteen different existing courses are to be immediately affected by the decision, but students already in these departments will continue their studies as normal, Star said.

A manifesto signed by a range of French figures including a former president and three former prime ministers last week called for Quranic verses they said incited violence against non-believers to be deleted from the holy book.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and opposition presidential candidate Muharrem İnce have both condemned the statement in campaign speeches ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.