Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Istanbul and Ankara last week, demonstrating against the government's proposal to split off faculties from many of Turkey's universities to form "new" schools. The government says the move is a pragmatic way to deal with growth, but many opponents believe the plan is motivated simply by greed and politics, rather than what's best for students.
As Turkey quickly approaches its June 24 elections, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's radical intervention in higher education is causing turmoil. The intention is to rearrange some faculties from 13 universities — including established, major ones such as Istanbul University — to create new schools. The government’s explanation is that some universities have grown too large to be practical. But many academics and students see the plan as a government effort to gain full control over schools. Thousands of academics signed a petition against the proposal, and there were reports that even patients of Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine joined the protests.