New regulation allowing YK to shut down private universities goes into effect

In what is seen by many as a severe blow to academic freedom in Turkey as well as free enterprise, a new regulation prepared by Turkeyand’s Higher Education Board (YandOK) that will pave the way for the closure of private universities has gone into effect. The regulation which was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday gives YandOK the authority to close private universities and”that have become a focal point for activities against the stateand’s indivisible integrity.and”
The regulation comes amid increasing concerns over growing restrictions on fundamental rights in Turkey. Following a government-backed decision on Oct. 26 by the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace, the management of Koza ipek Holdingand’s 22 companies andndash including critical TV stations Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk and the Bugandun and Millet dailies — was taken over by trustees accompanied by police on Oct. 28 on charges of supporting the Gandulen movement. Koza ipek Holding also owns ipek University in Ankara.
The regulation poses a danger for private universities run by foundations that are critical of the government. These universities could lose their academic independence and be placed under the academic, administrative and financial supervision of YandOK trustees.
No court ruling has been issued against Gandulen and hundreds of other people including police officers, journalist, judges, businessmen and bureaucrats for their alleged links with the Gandulen movement in the ongoing government-orchestrated investigations.
Investigations targeting the Gandulen movement have been criticized by many international organizations including Interpol, which has reportedly rejected a number of requests by the AK Party in 2015 to issue international warrants against people alleged to have links with the movement and who live abroad on the grounds that it has not been provided with any evidence of crimes.
Interpol also notified the AK Party government in August that it does not recognize the Gandulen movement as a criminal organization that is attempting to topple the Turkish government.


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