YOK launches investigation into rector over alleged links with ‘parallel state’

The Higher Education Board (YOK) has launched an administrative investigation into Dicle University Rector Ayşegul Jale Saraç and other members of the university management after Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Diyarbakır deputy Cuma İçten accused the university administration of acting under the influence of the “parallel structure.”

AK Party deputy İçten claimed last week the so-called “parallel structure” is very influential at Dicle University, further stating the university management had collected money from the salaries of academics and donated it to the “parallel state.”

Following İçten’s claims, YOK launched an investigation into the university’s management on Monday.

Holding a press conference in front of the Dicle University Rector’s Office building on Monday, Saraç denied the claims directed by İçten. “We have reached where we are thanks to God’s mercy and the support of our prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan]. Coming up with slanders doesn’t befit a deputy. Such acts do not befit an AK Party deputy in particular. I don’t know what he expects from this show, what his personal ambitions are,” she said in reference to İçten.

Stating that the university management has never been involved in any form of misconduct and has never stepped out of the law, Saraç said İçten’s opinions are his alone and not his party’s but noted İçten has brought his party under suspicion with his baseless accusations.

“The university management has been receiving messages of support while that deputy [İçten] has been receiving censure. What he voiced is all untrue. These institutions [universities] are regularly inspected. We [university managements] are all exposed to regular inspections. There was an irregularity [at the university] in 2003. There was another management team in 2007. We took office as of 2008,” Saraç said, adding: “A person who doesn’t have any evidence can only make claims. Throw enough dirt and some will stick. I want to call on the deputy to share any form of evidence or document, if he has any, with legal institutions instead of talking to the press. If he had any evidence, why didn’t he apply to a court? Why did he wait so long? A person who makes a claim also has to back up it with the necessary evidence.”

Stating that the deputy has to apologize to all Diyarbakır residents for his baseless accusations, Saraç also announced that the university management will file a libel suit against İçten.

Speaking on the investigation launched against the university management, Saraç said she was not surprised as it is a routine procedure. “They [YOK] will come and check us. Then they will leave and thank us when they cannot find anything wrong. It is very routine, but our university does not deserve something like this. If the slanders were only targeting me personally, I would not care and would leave to God’s justice. However, they cannot make slanders against our university. I want to say this with the regards to the parallel state: Our university has never allowed such things to happen. We are respectful of the law. The law carries carry great importance to us. Even if it was my brother or father who violated the law, I would not forgive them.”

Last week, Saraç began wearing the Islamic headscarf, the first university rector who has worn a headscarf at the president’s office. She said it was her personal religious choice to don the headscarf.