ANTALYA – Turkish Daily News
The president's failure to re-appoint professor Mustafa Akaydın as the Antalya Akdeniz University rector was interpreted by some as punishment for Akaydın's pro-secularist and anti-government stance, but the first statements by his replacement show there will be no backtracking on his positions on secularism, Kemalism or democracy.
As the first rector elected from the faculty of social sciences at Akdeniz University, professor İsrafil Kurtcephe got 207 votes, for a total 32 percent of the vote. Giving lectures on Kemalism, democracy, secularism and modernity for years, Kurtcephe is also a member of Turkish Armed Forces Atatürk Research and Education Center
The disputes over the rector picks for 21 universities are still ongoing, though the handover ceremonies were completed Wednesday. Ranked first on the list sent to President Abdullah Gül, Akaydın was not appointed as the new rector, but instead Kurtcephe, an academic in the history department, has become the new Akdeniz University rector.
�Turkey is a democratic state governed by the rule of law. The act of parliament regarding the rector appointments has been in effect for 12 years. There were similar cases during the presidency of Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who appointed the rector candidates ranked third and even the fourth on the list; however this never came up on the agenda,� said Kurtcephe, replying to the Turkish Daily News' question on the ongoing disputes about the politics behind Gül's decision.
�The election is a race that should be undertaken with equal conditions for all sides. It was not quite so in our case. Akaydın employed 198 people as well as 113 administrators within four years, which means there was a serious cluster supporting him and his administration. Meanwhile, I have not employed a single person in my life,� said Kurtcephe, who also highlighted a substantial decrease in the vote percentage for Akaydın when compared to the previous election. Akaydın got 48 percent of the vote last term, while this declined to 42 percent this time.
First rector ever appointed from faculty of social sciences
�If a university has a school of medicine, it is quite unlikely for the candidates from the faculty of social sciences to be appointed as rector. Akdeniz University was governed by the academics from the school of medicine for years,� said Kurtcephe.
�Being a professor at the history department, I have been elected the new rector in such an environment. I also came forward as a candidate in 2004, getting a total of 90 votes,� he said.
No change expected in the policy of university
�I have been working as a historian for 17 years. I am also a member of the Turkish Armed Forces Atatürk Research and Education Center. I have been giving lectures on Kemalism, democracy, secularism and modernity for years. I will never make a concession in these principles whatsoever,� said Kurtcephe.
I have been friends with Akaydın almost for 10 years and becoming enemies as a result of these elections is out of the question," said Kurtcephe, further pointing out that they, as the new university administration, will achieve success as long as they collaborate with the former administration and benefit from their invaluable experiences.
Answering a question on the recent resignations of university academics, Kurtcephe said there have always been resignations when the university administrations change in Turkey. It has almost turned into a ritual in the academic environment. However, they are resignations out of courtesy not reaction, he noted.