Dicle University Rector Ayşegüş Jale Saraç has initiated 11 separate administrative inquiries against a fellow academic who ran against her in the elections for the rector position, resulting in two warnings and a fine.
In the election held among academics at the Diyarbakır school last June, Prof. Saraç received 112 votes to Prof. Naime Canoruç’s 148 votes and Prof. Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem’s 136 votes. According to procedure, election results are passed on to the country’s university watchdog, the Higher Education Board, or YÖK, which in turn forwards a list of three suggested rectors to the president.
YÖK chose not to include Canoruç, the academics’ choice, in the list it sent to President Abdullah Gül, who picked Saraç, who had run from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in the 2007 general elections from Diyarbakır. She lost that election. Gül, who served as the prime minister and foreign minister in successive AKP governments between 2002 and 2007, was elected as president in 2007.
Soon after Saraç assumed the post of rector at Dicle University, the University Executive Board decided to remove Prof. Canoruç, who is also the wife of the previous rector, from her post as head of the biochemistry department.
The administrative inquiries against Canoruç began last March, as accusations directed at her alleged that she had failed to report her postings and holidays, including the trips she took accompanying her husband, Fikri Canoruç, the university’s former rector.
Naime Canoruç’s lawyer Yılmaz Demiroğlu said the charges against his client have no legal basis, adding: "The main aim is to coerce my client to quit. Every new day is bringing another inquiry."
Canoruç said all the claims were based on airport travel details and not on university records. "It is a fact that I took many plane trips due to my academic studies and the fact that my children are studying in Ankara. I also accompanied my husband," she said. "However, all these were done in accordance with academic regulations, and with permission."
The professor has received two warnings and has been fined an amount equal to one month’s salary. She has filed a complaint in court to overturn the fine and the warnings.
Her lawyer, Demiroğlu, said some of the inquiries were ongoing; for those that have ended, they have filed complaints to suspend and overturn the rulings.
When asked about Canoruç’s claims, Deputy Rector Aytekin Sır said Canoruç’s husband, when he was the rector, had launched inquiries against many academics. "All of the inquiries we have launched are in line with regulations and legal. She left the province many times without permission," Sır said. "We are not trying to punish her. She is not being discriminated against. We had to apply the law to everyone equally."