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Turkish Scientists Protest Gov’t Takeover

The Turkish Academy of Sciences fears it will lose its autonomy under new government management.

By | September 7, 2011

Turkish Academy of Science's director Yucel Kanpolat has just been outsed by the governmentTUBA

On August 27, members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) were outraged to find a government issued decree stripping their institute of its autonomy. The decree states that the number of academy members will triple from 100 to 300, with half of new academy members appointed by government officials, and half by the Council of Higher Education (an organization under government control). The existing 100 members will continue to serve. The TÜBA president will no longer be elected, but rather appointed, and honorary members will lose their General Assembly voting rights. Yücel Kanpolat, TÜBA’s current president, has faced an immediate end to his three-year term under the new decree, although the government is allowing him to stay on until it chooses a replacement.

TÜBA members at first considered walking out en masse to form their own independent academy, but any new organization would struggle without government funding. Instead, members have informed Turkish President Abdullah Gül of their discontent and hope to persuade the government to reconsider the decree. Because the academy is a publicly funded agency, the government does have the authority to change its structure, and the academy itself cannot appeal the decision. The government could be challenged through Turkey’s Constitutional Court by political parties or members of parliament, however.

The government has offered no explanation for the sudden changes, though members speculate that the decision does not have to do with censoring sensitive topics like science versus religion. Rather, Kanpolat believes, the Turkish government is on a campaign to “penetrate into the independence of institutions,” he told ScienceInsider. Regardless of the rational, Kanpolat fears the changes are “destroying the most important aspect of this scientific institution”—impartiality.

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Comments

Avatar of: Ramo

Anonymous

September 8, 2011

Long overdue measure. Turkish educational institutions have been sleeping all these years while other countries have received nobel prizes for their research. Turkish rectors have been dealing with politics rather than developing science.

Avatar of: guest

Anonymous

September 8, 2011

What you are saying is nonsense! These regulations are nothing but attempts to change the unbiased nature of the academia. 
If they succeed, I'm afraid in the near future all the academicians will be replaced by 'mullah'.  
Second, the reason of under-developed science is the lack of funding, not the lazy scientists who are interested in politics. Apparently funding scientific research is not the government's interest! 
   

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 8, 2011

Long overdue measure. Turkish educational institutions have been sleeping all these years while other countries have received nobel prizes for their research. Turkish rectors have been dealing with politics rather than developing science.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 8, 2011

What you are saying is nonsense! These regulations are nothing but attempts to change the unbiased nature of the academia. 
If they succeed, I'm afraid in the near future all the academicians will be replaced by 'mullah'.  
Second, the reason of under-developed science is the lack of funding, not the lazy scientists who are interested in politics. Apparently funding scientific research is not the government's interest! 
   

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 8, 2011

Long overdue measure. Turkish educational institutions have been sleeping all these years while other countries have received nobel prizes for their research. Turkish rectors have been dealing with politics rather than developing science.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 8, 2011

What you are saying is nonsense! These regulations are nothing but attempts to change the unbiased nature of the academia. 
If they succeed, I'm afraid in the near future all the academicians will be replaced by 'mullah'.  
Second, the reason of under-developed science is the lack of funding, not the lazy scientists who are interested in politics. Apparently funding scientific research is not the government's interest! 
   

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 20, 2011

What Ramo says is totally misleading. State control of academic institutions in Turkey (such as through Higher Education Council, aka YOK) has a lot to do with the underdeveloped nature of Turkish science today, not once-independent bodies such as TUBA.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 20, 2011

What Ramo says is totally misleading. State control of academic institutions in Turkey (such as through Higher Education Council, aka YOK) has a lot to do with the underdeveloped nature of Turkish science today, not once-independent bodies such as TUBA.

Avatar of: ScienceGuy

Anonymous

September 20, 2011

What Ramo says is totally misleading. State control of academic institutions in Turkey (such as through Higher Education Council, aka YOK) has a lot to do with the underdeveloped nature of Turkish science today, not once-independent bodies such as TUBA.

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