Islamist threat to study

October 6, 2006

Islamic fundamentalism threatens Turkey's universities, the country's President Ahmet Sezer warned last week.

Speaking to students at the Middle East Technical University, he said: "You should liberate your thoughts from dogmas and superstitions."

He added that he believed universities would never capitulate to such pressure, triggering a standing ovation from students who are normally hostile to visiting political figures.

Ural Akbulut, the university's rector, said: "Fundamentalist circles are engaged in a systematic effort to block the achievements of state universities and fling dirt at academics." Higher education, which is staunchly secular, is engaged in a struggle with the pro-Islamic Government.

General Ilker Basbug, the deputy head of the Army, which is committed to secularism, said: "The Army won't be a bystander to the attacks on the unitary and secular structure of the state."

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