Saturday, March 1, 2008

CHP Files Criminal Complaint Against Özcan

Yesterday CHP officials filed a criminal complaint against YÖK Chairman Yusuf Ziya Özcan for unduly urging university rectors to violate the law. According to the CHP complaint, Özcan has no legal authority to issue such an order. Despite the fact that the Constitutional Court has yet to rule the amendments unconstitutional and cannot do so on substantive grounds, the complaint insists that lifting the ban is unconstitutional according to the 1989 Constitutional Court decision that some read as making it illegal for türban-wearing students to enter university campuses.

Comprised of senior univeristy officials, the Inter-University Board (ÜAK) met yesterday to demand Özcan's resignation while AKP Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat requested prosecutors to take university rectors who refuse to lift the headscarf ban to court.

ÜAK Chairman Mustafa Akaydın, president of Akdeniz University, declared that
"Özcan has been fomenting a crisis among institutions of higher learning since the day he was assigned as YÖK president, instead of helping to create a peaceful and efficient working atmosphere. He has been trying to create a centralized and authoritarian atmosphere. We believe that he is not capable of representing Turkish universities as he pretends individual rights and freedoms are against the fundamentals of the republic. Thus, we call on him to resign."
Özcan insists that ÜAK does not have the authority to intervene in interpretations of the Constitution and is obliged to comply with YÖK's earlier order to lift the ban.

We will simply have to see how many more legal complaints will be filed until the issue resolves itself.

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