A Shame in the Face of International Academic Community’s Quiescence!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


For years YOK [Higher Education Council or YOK in Turkish]...has lost no opportunity to claim that the Turkish Universities are modeled after the “Western system”, and are even more autonomous than their counterparts. These claims, blatantly contradicted by the facts, have met with no effective criticism western Institutions. Rather, an increasing number of such institutions have extended support for the new system, in terms of both material and human resources....The time is long past for the international academic community to seriously reconsider its quiescence in the face of the Turkish regime’s repression of the universities, and to take up solidarity with their colleagues. (Savran et al, 1987, p.26)

It has been 20 years since this statement was published. Transition to democracy in 1982 by a new constitution did not create a significant change in higher education. 25 years later Turkish higher education is still managed by the very same militaristic mentality.

Recently YOK enacted a new regulation: Published in the Official Gazette No: 26519; Date: May 11, 2007. It is about equivalence of diplomas that are earned outside of Turkey. According to this ordinance, a Turkish citizen who earns a higher education degree outside of Turkey will only be granted degree equivalence if all course content is considered in accordance with both the Turkish constitution and the law no 2547 articles 4 and 5. Under this system a course that simply falls outside the student’s major course of study could be held up for question.

Therefore, those universities who profit from large numbers of students from Turkey will have to change their curriculum and do the necessary adjustments according to the Turkish constitutions and the law# 2547 or their enrolment will suffer!

Are you curious what the law # 2547 is about?
It is simple. Click here.

Savran, S., Tanor, B., Vassaf, G. (1987). Out of order: Turkish universities and totalitarianism. World University Service, London

Note: Pictures displayed in this blog were also copied from the book cited above.

Law# 2547 Articles 4 & 5

Higher Education Act

Law Number: 2547
Date of enactment: November 4, 1981
Published in the Official Gazette No: 17506;
Date: November 6, 1981



The aims of higher education:

a) To educate students so that they:

1. will be loyal to Atatürk nationalism and to Atatürk’s reforms and principles,

2. will be in accord with the national, ethical, human, spiritual and cultural values of the Turkish Nation and conscious of the privilege of being a Turk,

3. will put the common good above their own personal interests and have full devotion to family, country and nation,

4. will be fully conscious of their duties and responsibilities towards their country and will act accordingly,

5. will be objective, broad-minded, and respectful of human rights,

6. will develop in a balanced way, physically, mentally, psychologically, morally, and emotionally,

7. will prove to be good citizens contributing to the country’s development and welfare and at the same time acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for their future vocations.

b) To enhance the welfare of the Turkish State as a whole, conducive to national and territorial indivisibility; to implement programs contributing to and accelerating the economic, social and cultural development of the country; and to ensure that students are constructive, creative and outstanding participants in contemporary civilization.

c) As higher educational institutions, to carry out studies and research of high academic level, to promote knowledge and technology, to disseminate scientific findings to assist progress and development at the national level, and, through cooperation with national and international institutions, to become recognized members of the academic world and contribute to universal, contemporary progress.

Basic Principles


Higher education is organized, planned, and programmed in accordance with the following basic principles:
a) To ensure that students develop a sense of duty in line with Atatürk’s reforms and principles, loyal to Atatürk nationalism.
b) National culture integrated with universal culture, will be developed and fostered in keeping with Turkish mores and traditions so that the students develop a strong sense of national unity and solidarity.

c) The principle of basic unity within the educational system is to be achieved with due regard to the aims and goals, and particular characteristics of various higher educational institutions and fields of study.

d) Short and long term plans and programs are to be devised on the basis of scientific and technological principles, in accordance with national and regional needs, and will be regularly up-dated.

e) Measures are to be taken to secure equality of opportunity in higher education.

f) New universities and higher institutes of technology as well as new faculties, graduate schools, and schools of higher education within universities are established by law upon the recommendation or proposal of the Council of Higher Education in accordance with the principles and goals of national development plans and within the context of higher education planning.

g) Vocational schools of higher education attached to ministries are founded by a decision of the Council of Ministers on the basis of principles set forth by the Council of Higher Education.

h) Developing institutions of higher education, improving their efficiency, increasing their numbers so as to cover the whole country, training teaching staff in-country and abroad, and their proper assignment; securing a balance between manpower needs and education; distribution of resources and specialized manpower and education; meeting the national and local needs and specific requirements of the fields of practice in accordance with the principles and aims of the national education policy and the national development plans, are planned and achieved in a manner to cover formal and non-formal, continuing, and distance education.

i) In the course of education in the institutions of higher education, Atatürk’s Principles and the History of the Turkish Reforms, the Turkish language and a foreign language are all compulsory courses. In addition, a non-compulsory course in physical education or in one of the fine arts shall be included in the curriculum. All of these courses are to be planned and implemented for a minimum of two semesters.