Ankara university staff dismissed after participating in Boğaziçi protests

Officials at a top Turkish university in Ankara have dismissed two teaching assistants (TAs) after the pair participated in protests in support of Boğaziçi University over the appointment of a government linked rector, Birgün newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Middle East Technical University (METU) fired the TAs, citing institutional budget cuts, Birgün said, quoting a main opposition lawmaker who raised the issue to Parliament.

"What type of effort is being exerted to ensure that the TAs, whose jobs were terminated for using their constitutional right to participate in a peaceful protest, are able to return to their jobs?’’ Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Levent Gök asked Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.

A move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to install his own rector at Istanbul’s renowned Boğaziçi University earlier this month sparked protests that extended beyond Istanbul, including the METU campus in Ankara. 

At least 45 students were detained between Jan. 5-7 over their alleged participation in the protest against the appointment of Melih Bulu, who is linked to Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Critics maintain Bulu’s appointment is another move in the politicization of Turkish universities under Erdoğan.

Gök also asked for an explanation from the Education Ministry as to why the pair had been dismissed.