During the graduation ceremony at Turkey’s one of the most accredited universities, Middle Eastern Technical University (METU), graduating students protested the appointed rector Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök as he came up to the platform to give a speech.
Joining the graduates’ protest, the audience at the historic open-air Revolution Stadium clapped and whistled. A large banner above seats read ‘METU is neither the capitalists’, nor the rector’s. It is ours!’
Prof. Kök is among the rectors that have been appointed by President Erdoğan after the rector elections were lifted through an order of an emergency decree passed last year by the Council of the Ministers under Erdoğan’s leadership. Kök is also asserted to be the first rector in METU who has received additional payments. His pressure over the students has also been criticized.
On top of pressure of the government on academics - especially since the launching of a purge in response to a failed coup attempt -, student activities at several higher education institutions in the country have also been repeatedly targeted by pro-government rectors and other school authorities, as well as, security forces placed on duty at major college campuses.
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