Erdoğan's Boğaziçi comments continue to create a stir
President Erdoğan has created a stir with the claim that Boğaziçi University, Turkey’s highest rated university, was unsuccessful because it did not rest on national values.
Former Boğaziçi University Rector Prof. Dr. Üstün Ergüder has said that, despite all the school’s material constraints, it had been successful in rankings both in Turkey and in the world.
Prof. Dr. Üstün Ergüder, former rector of Boğaziçi University that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has singled out for criticism, has said that his university had always been successful both in Turkey and in the world despite its material constraints. Prof. Ergüder said, “Boğaziçi has always tried to be both national and to address Turkey’s problems.”
Prof. Ergüder, who spent thirty years at Boğaziçi University and served as the university’s rector for eight years over the period 1992-2000, said the following:
“Boğaziçi University has done its utmost to enable it to be ranked, not just in Turkey, but in the world. We have operated under material constraints, we have made great efforts and we have all seen the results. Boğaziçi has always been in a leading position in international university league tables and among Turkish universities. The value of this body must be appreciated. We always protected our students in military coup periods. When the time came, we protected our left-wing students and when the time came we protected our headscarf-wearing students. It would have been easy to impose a ban but we went for the tough option and defended the rights of young people to acquire an education. I think that a great injustice has been done to Boğaziçi University and am greatly saddened.”
It cannot be local and national!
Education and Science Workers' Union General Chair Feray Aytekin Aydoğan, pointing out that universities were bodies at which knowledge and free thought were created, said, “What applies everywhere in the world, at all universities, is the universal. There is and can be no such area of science as local and national physics or local and national sociology. In the part of the world where universities came into being, with the universe and universality even being conceptually conterminous with the word ‘university’, talk of local and national universities is an unscientific and ideological stance.”
Aydoğan, stressing that the installation of cronies and the expulsions brought about following 15 July had taken scientists away from universities, continued, “Our universities have now been surrendered to academics who say mobile phones were used and the ark was powered by nuclear energy during Noah’s flood and rectors who do not shake hands with women, proclaiming this to be more horrific than touching fire, and say, ‘I am driven to exasperation as the literacy rate increases.’ The call for a local and national university is the call for palace slave universities.
Universities are conterminous with being universal. Following the call for ‘local and national universities’ in the part of the world where universities, whose name conjures up the cosmos, the universe, were founded, it is also most harrowing for our universities that the most basic principle of science of inquiring, questioning and criticising is being carried out by nobody and this, unfortunately, is the current reality of our universities.”
We are at our university’s side
The statement made by Boğaziçi University Graduates Association read:
“Boğaziçi University has ever since its inception been one of Turkey’s leading and one of the world’s noted universities with its academic work that conforms to universal scientific principles and its libertarian social life with room for multiple voices. We, as the Boğaziçi University Graduates Association, stand by our university with all the values it represents, and will continue to do so.”
What did Erdoğan say?
Erdoğan said in a speech he made at the university’s campus, “Boğaziçi University has not managed to reach the place it expects in the international arena because it does not rest on the country’s and nation’s values.” Erdoğan, addressing Boğaziçi University teachers, commented, “Open the door to the defenders of a certain idea and close the door to them if they are not the defender of a certain idea. Is this what freedom is?”
Reply with league table
Following the criticism emanating from President Erdoğan, Boğaziçi University Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmed Özkan posted the rankings of Turkish universities in terms of their success on his Twitter account. The 2018 U.S. News and World Report league table shows Boğaziçi University to be the first placed university in Turkey.
Chief advisor is from Boğaziçi
The presidential chief advisor with responsibility for the economy, Hatice Karahan, is a graduate of the Faculty of Business Administration of Boğaziçi University, which Erdoğan has singled out for criticism. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Emine Nur Günay, Ravza Kavakçı Kan and Durmuş Ali Sarıkaya are a few of the AKP people who also graduated from Boğaziçi.
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