Former president of High Education Council says he couldn't find Erdoğan’s university diploma

Former chair of High Education Council (YÖK) Yusuf Ziya Özcan has said that he was unable to find President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s university diploma during his time in office even though he at the time contacted the administration of Marmara University from where the president is said to have graduated.

Duvar English

Former chair of the High Education Council (YÖK) Yusuf Ziya Özcan has stated that he searched for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's university diploma during his tenure between 2007 and 2011 but could not find it.

As Turkey heads to elections on May 14, debate on whether President Erdoğan holds a university diploma or not has once again come to the fore. A university degree is a necessary condition for being eligible to hold presidency office in Turkey. 

Commenting on the president's diploma, Özcan told Halk TV on March 23: "When I became YÖK president, I personally wondered about President Erdoğan's diploma. I asked my friends at Marmara University (where the president is said to have graduated from) and they indicated there is no single record. We did not ask them officially because it was not possible (due to the political atmosphere)." 

When asked, "Why didn't you share this research with the press and the public at the time?" Özcan replied, "This is not the job of the YÖK president. I was just curious because everyone was talking about the diploma.”

The debate on the university degree of the president has been long on the agenda of the opposition. As a response, Marmara University issued a statement in 2016 and stated that "It is certain that Mr. President graduated from the 'Faculty of Commercial Sciences', which provides 'four-year' education at the undergraduate level."