A prosecutor from the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, has found that the establishment of law and communications faculties at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University by the decree of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is “unlawful.”
In February 2021, Erdoğan issued a presidential order that ordered the establishment of law and communications faculties at the university, which has been at the center of protests for more than a year.
The Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) then filed a lawsuit at the Council of State, saying that the opening of new university faculties by presidential decrees violates the Constitution.
In their petition to the Council of State, Eğitim-Sen said that such presidential decrees are contrary to the Constitution's Article 130, which says universities “shall be established by the State and by law to educate at different levels based on secondary education.”
At the time, Boğaziçi faculty members and students also opposed the move, saying such an important decision about the university should be taken by the university units, rather than the President.
In his/her opinion, a prosecutor from the Council of State has found that the establishment of university faculties by presidential decrees is against the Constitution. The prosecutor ruled that faculties should be established by law in line with university autonomy, according to reporting by the daily Evrensel. The issue should be brought to the Constitutional Court (AYM), the prosecutor said.
Commenting on the prosecutor’s opinion, Eğitim-Sen lawyer İlkay Bahçetepe said that it was against the law to establish a faculty without consulting the relevant units of the university.
“It’s a positive development. Our hope is that the judicial review of arbitrary decisions of the Presidency will be carried out in accordance with the principle of the rule of law,” Bahçetepe added.
Boğaziçi University’s Faculty of Law has accepted undergraduate students for this academic year. However, the faculty has no professor and only one associate professor as faculty members. The rector of Boğaziçi, Naci İnci, who is also a physics professor, is currently the acting dean of the faculty.