ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The Supreme Education Board, or YÖK, submitted Wednesday a list for rector appointments in newly established universities, which consists primarily of names opposed to the headscarf ban in universities. The list comes as repercussions of the president's recent rectors appointments are still being felt.
YÖK submitted the names of 69 rector nominees among 517 candidates for the rector posts of 23 universities to President Abdullah Gül on Wednesday, as a result of a 12-hour meeting. A total of 36 of the 69 candidates signed a declaration supporting lifting the headscarf ban in universities in Turkey. Of those, 14 were ranked first on YÖK's list for appointments in their respective universities. Gül will make appointments from the 69 candidates.
The rector candidates are known for their close relations with YÖK President Yusuf Ziya Özcan and Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik.
Professor Mustafa Solak, who is the first candidate on the YÖK list for Yalova University, assumed his post in YÖK as an adviser during the term of Özcan and is now serving as a YÖK supervision commission member.
Names close to President Gül
Professor Ali Akmaz, who is the priority candidate on the YÖK list for the rector position at Şırnak University, was among the founders of the conservative Saadet (Happiness) Party.
Professor Mehmet Duran, head of the YÖK list for Artvin Çoruh University, served together with Gül at Sakarya University. His name was not submitted to the president in 2007 during the term of former YÖK President Erdoğan Teziç, though Duran was the candidate with the most votes. Duman also signed the declaration supporting the abolition of the headscarf ban in state universities.
Professor İlyas Doğan, who is a scholar at Gazi University and the first candidate on the YÖK list for Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University, defended Gül when the latter appeared in a prosecutor's indictment accusing the ruling party of building an Islamic state in secular Turkey, saying that presidents should not be subject to prosecution in parliamentary systems.
The list also includes three names who graduated from religious schools. Hasan Onat, who ranked second on the YÖK list for Çankırı Karatekin University, acted as the court expert in a case that was filed against the Education Ministry about putting a course on religious culture on the national curriculum.
Professor Nihat İnanç, who remained the top of the YÖK list for the rector position at Muş Alpaslan University, ran for candidacy for the position of Van deputy for the ruling party.
Professor İbrahim Belenli is another name of note on the YÖK list, which places him at first rank for Hakkari University. Belenli received his doctoral degree at Oxford University and is the only candidate on the list who had responded to the Islamic headscarf negatively.