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    Arrested Van University rector "paying the price for defending secularity"

    Hürriyet Haber
    20.10.2005 - 10:04 | Son Güncelleme:

    Controvery continues to swirl around the case of Van's Yuzuncu Yil University's Rector, Professor Yucel Askin, who was arrested last week under accusations of improper proceedings in a $25 million tender for medical equipment for the university. At a special meeting of the Board of Higher Education's (YOK) Rector Committee yesterday, an official expression of support was given to Rector Askin, whom YOK affirms is the "victim of a conspiracy." YOK members marched to meet with Justice Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday, and announced their intent to fly to Van on Sunday to express their support in person.

    During yesterday's 4 hour meeting, YOK chairman Professor Erdogan Tezic said that "supporting Rector Askin is the same as supporting the Republic of Turkey, " and condemned the arrest of the Van University rector as being a particular blow to Turkey at a time when the country has embarked on EU accession talks.
    Van University influenced by presence of religious sects?
    There have been accusations coming from Professor Askin's supporters that his arrest is a result of a struggle between forces for secularity and more religious factions at the university. These accusations were supported yesterday by YOK president Tezic, who said "Askin's arrest is the result of the deeply rooted religious sects at the university. But the responsibility for researching this subject falls on the press, not on me. I have no time to gather evidence and do the research; this is a job for the press."
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