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Turkish university investigating academic over ‘inappropriate’ Erdoğan references

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The İstanbul-based Marmara University, from where Turkish President Recep Erdoğan allegedly graduated, has announced that it has launched an administrative investigation into one of its academics for using “inappropriate” references to Erdoğan in the final exam, local media reported on Thursday.

“An administrative investigation was launched into the lecturer who allegedly referred to our president in an inappropriate way and attempted to create a [negative] perception among students,” the university said in a statement, referring to lecturer Bülend Nami Nomer from the faculty of political science.

The academic reportedly used Erdoğan’s name in some of the options of the questions he prepared for the final exam of his Introduction to Economics I class taken by students online in the form of a multiple-choice test.

Screenshots circulating on social media showed a question asking “You want to buy a pair of shoes, but they’re too expensive. What does that mean?” and among the answers was “Ask Tayyip,” referring to the president.

“Tayyip always wins” was also one of the options in another question regarding the free market economy.

Following the issuance of university’s statement, students from the faculty of political science on Thursday started a signature campaign on the change.org website, stating that they were opposed to the investigation of their lecturer based on questions he prepared with a “humorous attitude.”

“We defend that freedom of thought is an indispensable element of universities. … We stand by our teacher and certainly don’t want any sanctions to be imposed on him,” the students said, collecting more than 200 signatures in a few hours.

The students also criticized the investigation launched into the academic on social media, sharing posts on Twitter using the hashtag #marmaralıhocasınınyanında (Those from Marmara [university] stand by their teacher).

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