ISTANBUL: Hundreds of people protested in Istanbul on Monday against what they believed was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s politically biassed appointment of a rector at a top Turkish university.
A writer put the figure at more than 1,000, with hundreds of police officers attending the protest without interfering.
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Rage erupted after a presidential decree on January 1 in which Erdogan named Melih Bulu, a candidate for the presidential ruling party in the 2015 general election, as the rector of Bogazici University.
Students angered by what they alleged was political intrusion were involved among the demonstrators outside the campus of the public university.
“While some held placards saying, “We want freedom, why so many police?” they chanted, “We don’t want a named rector” and “Melih, stand down “and “Melih Bulu can’t be the rector of Bogazici.”
After surviving a failed 2016 coup, Erdogan assumed the right to personally select university rectors, and it is not the first time his preference for Bogazici has ignited controversy.
There were conflicts and resentment between students and academics when Professor Mehmed Ozkan was appointed as rector in November 2016.
Before July 2016, rectors for Turkish universities were selected by elections.