Freedom in the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The massive protests in Turkey might not have reversed the increasingly authoritarian rule by the Turkish Prime Minister, but it appears to have forced Erdogan to more brazenly crack down on any form of democratic dissent, this time by denying student loans to students who participated — or participate in the future — in anti-government protest.
No education loans will be granted to students who engage in resistance, stage boycotts, chant slogans or become involved in similar activities, according to newly announced conditions by the Higher Education Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK), Turkey’s official student loan institution.
The precondition states that those who engage in “resistance, boycotts, occupations, writing, painting [in public spaces], chanting slogans and the like,” will not be eligible for student loans, as such activity constitutes a “violation of the right to an education,” according to the KYK.
“In the education institutions he/she attends, in its extensions in the dormitory he/she resides, outside of the education institution or the dormitory, either solely or collectively, in whichever form, those who are concerned with events of anarchy and terrorism, engaging in behaviors violating the right to education (resistance, boycott, occupation, writing, painting, slogan-chanting, et cetera), whether attempted partially or fully,” are classified as ineligible alongside those who carry any sort of firearm or sharp device.
Here is the most telling part of the story:
But while the conditions had already been on the books since the first half of 2000s, it appears that the KYK has chosen to highlight actions such as engaging in resistance, staging boycotts and chanting slogans in its announcement for the upcoming academic year for the first time.
In other words, the Erdogan-led AKP government put these regulations in place shortly after first taking power. It is only now that the tools it gave itself are being wielded as they intended.
One can only hope, for the sake of Turkey and the region, that Erdogan’s increasingly open arrogance will continue to energize and motivate those in Turkey who seek true democracy and pluralism to continue to oppose the AKP’s efforts to impose their Islamist view-point on the masses.