Duvar English

The General Directorate of Foundations, under the Culture and Tourism Ministry, has taken over the management of Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BSV), which was co-founded by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in 1986. Davutoğlu resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party to form the rival Future Party last year.

A group of three trustees from the General Directorate of Foundations on Jan. 21 came to the foundation’s office in Istanbul’s Fatih district and took over the management.

The foundation is a nonprofit founded as a space to build a conservative academic class. It has organized hundreds of seminars and courses on many subjects including modern cinema and contemporary Turkish politics. Thousands of people have attended the foundation’s seminars over the years — most crucially when a ban on headscarves in public universities kept thousands of religious women out of academia.

The take-over is a perilous step, says foundation

The BSV issued a statement regarding the take-over on Jan. 21, saying: “Such a treatment of our foundation, which has been serving for our country’s education and cultural life for 40 years, does not fit in any way right and justice.”

“This arbitrary attitude is a perilous step that can lead to a big damage in our centuries-long foundation tradition; and not only is it a dangerous attempt that concerns the Foundation for Sciences and Arts, but all foundations in our country,” the statement said.

Istabul Şehir University, which was established by the BSV in 2008, had previously faced a similar fate back in December when its management was turned over to Marmara University. Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) had cited the university’s “financial situation” as the reason of the transfer.