Turkish ruling party planning to hijack academia - newspaper

The Turkish government is seeking to place its own people in the academia, just as it did in the judiciary, with a new higher education model that allows academics to be promoted without knowledge of foreign languages or any published articles, the left-wing BirGün newspaper said.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has been promoting pro-government lawyers to judges to accelerate its own interests in the judiciary, is preparing to do the same thing in academia by removing the title “assistant professor” and bringing in a “doctor academic” model that will allow it to fill universities with thousands of pro-government academics, the newspaper said. 

After Turkey’s president, AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the assistant professor role would be abolished, the Council of Higher Education acted quickly, lifting the requirement for academics to score 65 points out of 100 in a foreign language examination, it said.

“This is a change which was made after Erdoğan’s speech,” Özyeğin University founding rector Erhan Erkut was quoted as saying. “It is impossible for a serious university to give associate professorship to someone who doesn’t have any international publications. Universities will be tested in this regard. This situation will show the seriousness of a university.”

Erkut said that hiring based on ideology would affect the performances of Turkish universities.

“If there is a patronage system, there won’t be enough scientific publications” Erkut said.