Draft regulation by top higher education body eases closure of private universities

In what is seen as a severe blow to academic freedom, a newly drafted regulation suggested by Turkeyandrsquos Higher Education Board (YandOK) paves the way for the closure of private universities.
The draft posted on the website of YandOK on Friday to be discussed by academic circles proposes closure of private universities and”that become a focal point for activities against the stateandrsquos indivisible integrity.and”
The draft regulation poses a danger for private universities which are run by foundations that are critical of the government. The universities that would lose their academic independency will be under academic, administrative and financial supervision of YandOK if the draft is approved.
The draft comes amidst increasing concerns over growing restrictions on fundamental rights in Turkey. Press freedom is in particular under threat in the country with growing government pressure ahead of Sundayandrsquos parliamentary elections. Earlier this week, a government-backed court decision paved the way for the hostile takeover of a critical media outlet by trustees, who fired senior editors of the media group and added the publications to a long list of pro-government news outlets.