Since his appointment in January, the waters had not calmed down at Boğaziçi University.
Rector Melih Bulu was dismissed yesterday after protests, police interventions, and the actions of academics turning their backs.
Frankly, as a Bosphorus citizen, I am worried about the possibility of a tougher and more hawkish rector.
On the other hand, the celebrations continue in the Bosphorus. A considerable part of the opposition and media has already declared this step as a victory for the people of Bosphorus.
Is it really so? How should we read dismissal?
Is this a victory for the protesters, as they say? Has the government made concessions? Or did he justify the protests?
Or is there some other reason in the background? How and when was the decision to dismiss Bulu taken? Who will replace him?
From the moment I heard yesterday that Melih Bulu was sacked, I followed these questions.
If you remember, I was one of the first journalists to talk to Bulu when he was appointed.
I have written in detail what he told me in this column. Bulu first told me that he was not thinking of resigning and that the protests would end in 6 months.
I CAN’T REACH BULU FOR THE FIRST TIME YESTERDAY…
After that, we continued to call from time to time about the developments. Whenever I called him, I found him.
However, I couldn’t reach Bulu for the first time yesterday. I did not receive any response to my persistent calls and messages.
I don’t think this is surprising. Because, as he said, he did not resign, but as it turns out, he did not imagine that he would be dismissed. He got a big shock.
So why was he sacked? When was this decision made?
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF YÖK UNANIMOUSLY SUPPLIED
Let me tell you a definite information that I have confirmed from many different sources: The General Assembly of YÖK convened on Wednesday and it was unanimously decided to submit a proposal to the Presidency for the dismissal of Bulu.
As soon as the proposal reached President Erdogan on Wednesday evening, it was approved by Erdogan.
It is interesting that the proposal for dismissal was made unanimously. It means that the General Assembly of YÖK was uncomfortable with Bulu as a whole.
However, as far as I understand, such an offer was not a surprise for the President.
The offer came from YÖK, but it seems that Erdogan was not satisfied with Melih Bulu’s managerial performance.
Bulu was not found to be sufficiently aggressive and resilient to take the steps the state expected of him.
Among the criticisms leveled at him are that he passes the decisions he needs to make to his assistants and gives permission in critical processes that he needs to sign.
THE PROBLEM IN LAW AND COMMUNICATION FACULTIES
Another piece of information I learned is that Melih Bulu’s failure to act as promptly as the state wanted, regarding the newly established law and communication faculties in Bosphorus, was disappointing.
There has not even been an announcement yet for the recruitment of staff to the Faculty of Law. Melih Bulu didn’t even move a finger about it.
For the communication faculty, even the main lines such as which departments will be opened and what the content will be, let alone the staff announcement.
If I summarize briefly, the Turkish state has not been affected by the Bosphorus protests at all, but it is understood that Melih Bulu was very impressed by these protests and is constantly concerned about convincing the Bosphorus people.
In my opinion, the reason why he didn’t sign any critical document because Bosphorus people would be angry is his fear of the Bosphorus public opinion.
While Melih Bulu was trying to be gentle, conciliatory and convincing the people of Bosphorus, it seems that neither Jesus nor Moses could be of use to him.
In ruling circles, he is thought to be a manager who is too hesitant to give the impression of a soft person and does not take any action.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?
So what happens next?
As a Bosphorus citizen, I am worried. The school has already been shaken.
This over-politicized atmosphere needs to be dissipated as soon as possible. If an assignment is made that will further escalate the tension, it would be very wrong.
But our protester brothers also need to remember the defeat in the Gezi uprising and return to the democratic negotiation style in line with the Bosphorus culture.
It is very important that our academic professors, many of whom I know, guide Boğaziçi students positively and keep them away from maximalist demands. I want to be hopeful about this because if the conflict continues, the Bosphorus will suffer even more.
Although there are some conflicts between them, almost all Bosphorus academics are very classy people. Even their internal quarrels are within a civilized framework.
There is no one among them as radical and rigid as some strange names with professor titles appearing on the screens. Boğaziçi is very lucky in this regard.
It is not possible to find this mature and distilled academic environment in any other Turkish university. Boğaziçi professors are all people who have adopted the Anglo-American university culture and adopted the basic libertarian paradigm. Now they have an important role to play in this process.
If confrontation and radicalization occur, I am worried that the Bosphorus will be irreversibly damaged and, to be frank, my school will be crushed.
As Boğaziçi residents, let’s not forget that the state was dismissed not because it found the insurgents right, but because Melih Bulu made too many concessions to the resisters. So the protesters shouldn’t be in a victorious mood.
I’M Worried BECAUSE…
“Give me the presidency of this university, Mr. President. I crush these anarchists and terrorists like a bulldozer. What was the Bosphorus culture? I equip it with 100% national culture. I know that there will be candidates who want to make him rector of the Bosphorus with the argument “I will make the Turkish State conquer the Bosphorus”. On behalf of Boğaziçi professors and students, I am worried about the appointment of such a hawkish and harsh rector as a result of a meaningless confrontation. Our university may be destroyed.
Therefore, the people of Boğaziçi should soften with the resignation of Bulu and move away from maximalist demands. On the other hand, YÖK and the government must not be under pressures against the spirit of the Bosphorus.
Of course, the key point here is the choice of the rector…
WHO WILL BE THE NEW RECTOR?
As the candidates have not been clarified yet, no one knows the answer to this question at the moment, but Prof. Dr. I heard that he is on the side of Naci İnci. In my opinion, this is the right decision.
İnci is an academic who has been working at Boğaziçi since 1994. Although he has taught at Sabancı University for a while, he has been a part of the Bosphorus culture for 28 years.
His CV is very good. He attended Stanford, one of the most prestigious universities in the USA. After all, being a Bosphorus Professor means having done academic studies at prestigious universities in the Anglo-American world. In addition, Naci İnci is a local and national name if we say it in fashionable terms.
If a firm and uncompromising line is followed by perceiving Bulu’s dismissal as a victory, there may be a danger that things will get tougher and the school will be damaged. This is my biggest concern.
I want to believe that the Bosphorus community will act with common sense and come out of this crisis with the least damage.