Erdoğan-appointed Boğaziçi University rector appoints physics professor to run Social Sciences Institute

The Erdoğan-appointed Boğaziçi University rector Melih Bulu has assigned Prof. Naci İnci from the Physics Department to run the Social Sciences Institute, in a complete disregard of democratic procedures.

This collaege photo shows Melih Bulu (L) and Naci İnci.

Duvar English

Physics Prof. Naci İnci, who accepted the role of vice vector in Istanbul's Boğaziçi University earlier in February, has now also taken the helm of the Social Sciences Institute.

Boğaziçi University academics have slammed rector Melih Bulu's decision to grant İnci this post, saying the customary practice of holding an election for the directorship of the Social Sciences Institute had been violated.

Bulu, who was in January appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the new rector, has been disregarding the democratic practices prevalent at the university and installing his own cadres of academics as new hires, leading to a change in the composition of the academic personnel.

Normally, academics have a say in choosing the person who will assume the role of director at their institute through a secret ballot. The person who gets the most votes is appointed to this post.

The Social Sciences Institute had already established a commission to choose its new director. Prof. Dr. Ünal Zenginobuz was the only one who put his candidacy for the post and received the approval of 197 academics and disapproval of four academics during a voting on Feb. 9.

However, Bulu bypassed the democratic procedures and announced that he would install a professor of his own choice.

In the meantime, Boğaziçi University academics released a statement on Feb. 26, saying: “The official assignments of our Social Sciences Institute director and Engineering Faculty dean, who we have chosen through democratic ways, have not been still realized.”

Bulu turned a deaf ear to the academics' call and instead appointed Prof. İnci from the Physics Department for this post, who he had already made a vice vector on Feb. 8.

A student group known as Boğaziçi Solidarity slammed İnci's second assignment and tweeted: “Naci İnci, who has been avoiding to release any statement with regards to the ongoing arrest of two Physics Department students, has been now appointed as the director of Social Sciences Institute with the instruction of Melih Bulu. We are not accepting appointed trustees or those appointed by him.”

Earlier in February, Erdoğan issued a presidential order that ordered the establishment of law and communications faculties at Boğaziçi University.

Bulu welcomed Erdoğan's order, saying the two faculties “will contribute different perspectives and richnesses to Boğaziçi.”

Experts noted that Erdoğan's move will help Bulu to install his own cadres of academics in a complete disregard for the university's needs and resources.

This manifested itself when Bulu appointed Prof. Selami Kuran as the dean of the new law faculty. 

Kuran was one of the five members of a committee that had been formed at Istanbul's Marmara University to carry out disciplinary actions against the signatories of the 2016 Academics for Peace petition. Kuran voted in favor of the academics' dismissal, along with three other committee members.

Students and academics have been protesting against the appointment of Bulu since January, saying his appointment is undemocratic.

Bulu, who has applied to be a candidate for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a 2015 parliamentary election, was the first rector chosen from outside a university since a military coup in Turkey in 1980.