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Turkish university prohibits purge victims from enrolling in masters program

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Turkey’s Ege University, located in İzmir, announced on Tuesday that public servants who were fired by government decrees during a now-ended state of emergency issued after a 2016 coup are prohibited from applying to the masters program at the university’s social sciences faculty, the Turkish media reported.

Ankara University had previously changed its regulations for admission, adding a requirement of “no prior dismissal from public service” in 2017, according to the Ahval news website.

After that change, Cenk Yiğiter, a law professor who was dismissed from his post at Ankara University, was not allowed to enroll at the university as an undergraduate student even though he fulfilled the other criteria.

“The constitution says that fundamental rights and freedoms can only be restrained by laws. The right to education is a fundamental right. In this matter, only the parliament can introduce a law to impose restraints if it is not anti-constitutional,” Yiğiter tweeted in response to the Ege University announcement.

“The university management basically says that it can enact legislation that can only be done by parliament,” he added.

A Turkish court on Monday overturned an earlier decision barring Yiğiter from returning to Ankara University as a student.

Also, human rights activist and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu tweeted that “this is against the constitution and science. Shame on you!”

Some 140,000 public servants were dismissed by government decrees between July 2016 and July 2018 as part of a massive crackdown on dissidents after the abortive putsch.

The government later introduced security criteria for public jobs, a move that was interpreted by observers as an attempt to keep politically critical people out of the bureaucracy.

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