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    PM Erdogan blames university rectors for recent tension

    Hürriyet Haber
    26.10.2005 - 10:07 | Son Güncelleme:

    Reverberations continue regarding the recent arrest of Van's Yuzuncu Yil University Rector Yucel Askin on charges of corruption. Following the arrest of Rector Askin, the Board of Higher Education (YOK) rushed to his support, with many rectors from different universities across Turkey flying to Van the weekend following Professor's Askin's arrest, to visit him in jail. Speaking with reporters on this issue on the first day of his trip to Kuwait, Yemen, and England, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan answered questions connected with the topic:

    (H) Did the tension involving the Board of Higher Education (YOK) enter the agenda of the National Security Council meeting at all?
     
    Not at all. The President and I did not speak about it. They are trying to pull the administration into this, and this makes us uncomfortable.
    (H) The tension is continuing though...
     
    The fact that YOK had that many rectors get together and go to Van, then go to the Justice Ministry, was an ugly an implementation of action as I have ever seen. Is this not putting pressure on the justice system? If you want to visit someone, send a few people for a symbolic visit. What were all the rectors doing there? They have become supporters of tension in the country....
     
    (H) Are you going to meet with the president of YOK?
     
    I spoke with him at the start of this all. I told him at the time that if we wanted to say anything to eachother, it should be by phone. But unfortunately, not even one week passed, and he was answering back by a press conference. He wants to intrude on a process which we are legally taking....He should mind his own business!
     
    (H) The President of Turkey has invited the rectors to visit him...
     
    That is the business of the President. He can invite whomever he wants. It is his choice.
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