Turkey: protests against appointment of university rector

Students at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University have protested at the government's appointment of their new rector, Melih Bulu. This was the first time since 1980 that the decision was not taken within the university. Some commentators voice doubts about the new rector's suitability. Others question the motives of the demonstrators.

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Yetkin Report (TR) /

Party membership rather than competence

Commenting in Yetkin Report, Murat Yetkin sees the controversial appointment of the new rector as a clearly politically motivated move:

“There are doubts that Melih Bulu was appointed to this important seat thanks to his academic references. I am not talking about the plagiarism claims about his articles without citing his sources. Bulu, with a degree in industrial engineering from the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) and from Boğaziçi University in business administration, owes his rise to his political preferences, not his academic success. ... In other words, despite Hilal Kaplan praising him in her column in pro-government Sabah as the 'non-elite Boğaziçi University rector,' it's clear that Bulu is a perfect member of the AKP elite.”

Star (TR) /

Demonstrators are terrorists

By contrast the pro-government daily Star believes that the student protest is being faked to foment a rebellion against the government:

“Demanding their rights is defined by law for students in our legal system. ... But what has prompted the students to take to the streets? It would be more accurate to pose the following question: are the rioters reallly students? It has long since become clear that those who have got into skirmishes with the police using stones and fists and have been arrested are militants who are in contact with illegal terrorist organisations.”