I am sure that, following the arrest of Van Rector Professor Yucel Askin, there were members of his faculty who were pleased by the whole affair. Their pleasure would be connected to the fact that, before his arrest Rector Akdas had been trying to implement changes in the modern education offered by his university.
Some months ago, authorities from the Interior Ministry had visited Van to inspect some of the foundations there, and had found some documents related to something completely unexpected from the foundations there: a poll.
One of the Van foundations had taken a poll among villagers in the Van area. The subject of the poll was: New Methods in Fishery. Educating local fishermen on new techniques in fishing for their benefit and as it related to the Van Lake was part of this all. A teaching member from Van's Yuzuncu Yil University was one of the people carrying out this poll. He was someone with serious perspective differences from the now-arrested Rector. According to the Interior Ministry, this poll had been funded by an international fund of some sort. I guess the fund was curious about fishing....!
The bizarre contrast between the questions contained in the poll and the stated purpose of the poll is enough to make you wonder.
Here are some of the questions:
Should Turkey develop its relations with other Islamic countries?
Should the Akdamar Church be fixed with state funds, or should those same funds go to the education of our youth?
Should girls go to school?
Does tourism affect our morality?
Would you like a cinema in your village?
So truly, here is education on fishing for the villagers!...
These are all questions which are far from the modern Turkish profile. An incredible photograph of the before and after images of Van University has emerged. Though previously a tower of willful ignorance, today it is a modern university. The reaction to the rectors who visited Van in protest of Professor Askin's arrest is one of anger at the fallen tower. I applaud Van Rector Askin's efforts in Van, as well as the support shown by all the other rectors who visited him there.