Turkish rector appoints ISIS-praising teacher to chair university directorate

Karadeniz Technical University (KTÜ) rector has assigned a government-linked association’s president to oversee the university’s Health, Culture and Sports Directorate despite his ISIS-praising tweets. The former teacher named Ömer Salimoğlu has also tweets defending religious marriage against official ceremony and praising the founder of the Islamic militant organization IBDA-C.

Fatih Saygın / Gazete Duvar

It has come out to light that Ömer Salimoğlu, who has been recently appointed to the presidency of Karadeniz Technical University (KTÜ)’s Health, Culture and Sports Directorate, previously shared on social media posts that praised ISIS.

Salimoğlu served as an assistant principal at a middle school for many years. He later became the president of Karadeniz International Students Association (KULDER) which paved the way for new opportunities. In August 2022, KTÜ rector Hamdullah Çuvalcı appointed him as the acting president of the university’s Health, Culture and Sports Directorate. Despite objections, rector Çuvalcı did not step back from his decision and next month Salimoğlu will be the relevant directorate’s permanent president.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Provincial head Sezgin Mumcu is known to have a connection to KULDER and also allegedly supports Salimoğlu politically.

Ömer Salimoğlu (L) and AKP Trabzon Provincial head Sezgin Mumcu (R)

Despite his ISIS-praising tweets in 2015, no action has been yet taken against Salimoğlu. Also, Salimoğlu has tweets defending religious marriage against official ceremony and praising Salih Mirzabeyoğlu, the founder of the Islamic militant organization Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (IBDA-C).

Education trade union Eğitim-İş’s Trabzon branch president Tamer Özlü said that Salimoğlu’s appointment to KTÜ meant “entrusting students to terrorism lovers.” “People finding a seat via remarks against secularism and the appointment of people like this in universities continues in the AKP reign. The Council of Higher Education’s awarding of people who praise ISIS and who are against secularism is unacceptable,” Özlü said.

Some of the tweets shared by Salimoğlu are as follows:

“Those brainless people who connected the Suleyman Shah Tomb incidents to ISIS. ISIS has not become that much insignificant. You deal with your own dirtiness. To another door.”

“ISIS and Al-Nusra made an agreement on a headquartered Islam state, not locally. Best wishes.”

“History boils down to recurrence. When a man with a cause dies, his value and existence becomes clear. Even if our humanhood dies, this cause would never die. Rest in peace Salih Mirzabeyoğlu.”

“Do not become upset if official marriage can’t be conducted, we would then perform religious ceremony.”

Salimoğlu's tweets

(English version by Didem Atakan)