Turkey's President Erdogan axes friendly university chief

Turkey's President Erdogan axes Bogazici University chief in rare reversal
2 min read
15 July, 2021
Melih Bulu, who previously stood for election for Erdogan's AK Party, will no longer be chief of the highly regarded Bogazici University.
Erdogan's reversal on Melih Bulu being chief of Bogazici University is uncharacteristic [Getty]

A university chief allied to Turkey's government has been axed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following demonstrations against his appointment.

The uncharacteristic reversal means Melih Bulu will no longer lead the elite Bogazici University in Istanbul, the country's Official Gazette reported on Thursday.

The report gave no official reason for Bulu's removal, however CNN Turk reported that the move follows a conversation had on Wednesday by the Council of Higher Education concerning his behaviour and words during the previous half a year.

Erdogan had described protesters against Bulu as "terrorists who wanted to raid the university rector's office", promising to take "whatever [action] is necessary".

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Bulu had previously stood for election to parliament under the banner of Erdogan's AK Party.

A new rector, Mehmet Naci Inci, will take over the reins on an "acting" basis, according to the Turkey's Sabah news outlet, which is aligned with the country's authorities.

Inci previously led the physics department and was made deputy university chief while Bulu was in office.

Former and current pupils as well as members of staff rallied in opposition to Bulu since he was put in place at the beginning of the year, arguing that the job holder should be elected.

Turkish authorities have detained protesters and raided the homes of demonstrators.

While Bulu's time as head of Bogazici University has now ended, it was a chance for the authorities to hold more sway over appointments at the institution.

The educational establishment used to be a US institution and is considered as too friendly to the West by many who side with the Turkish president.