Ex-head of Erdoğan university jailed for ‘terrorist links’

Former rector of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University is sentenced to four years on alleged terrorist charges

March 14, 2018
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey
Source: Corbis
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president

The former head of a university named after Turkey’s president has been jailed for more than four years on alleged terror charges.

Arif Yilmaz, who was rector of the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University (RTEÜ), which was set up in the Black Sea city of Rize in 2006, has been sentenced to four years and two months in jail, the Dogan news agency reported.

Professor Yilmaz, who was accused of links to the Gülen movement that is blamed for the failed coup of July 2016, spent 11 months in pre-trial detention before being released on bail in July 2017, said the website Turkey Purge.

The medical professor was convicted of “aiding a terror group” on 5 March, the site said.

Almost 6,000 academics have lost their jobs since the failed military takeover in 2016, which has also seen almost 152,000 public servants sacked and 65,000 people arrested.

Those arrested over the coup have also had their passports confiscated, with eight people, including several academics, arrested on 10 March as they attempted to escape into Greece, Turkey Purge said.

Last month, arrest warrants were issued for seven academics and business people for having funding intercultural dialog events organised by the Izmir Cultural Dialog Center (IZDIM).

Among those detained included Ismail Selim Doğanata, the owner of Izmir University and Fatih College, two of the 3,000 schools, universities and dormitories shut for alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkey Purge said.

jack.grove@timeshighereducation.com

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