Amendments to Higher Education

Executive Decree 674 Article 49 has added an article to the Law on Higher Education changing the employment status of research assistants under the Lecturer Training Program (ÖYP) from 33(a) to the more precarious 50(d). Such research assistants who are enrolled at a separate university or overseas, are now obliged to return to their universities at the behest of the university management within 15 days of the date of effect of this article.

Executive Decree 683 Article 4 has suspended the associate professorship application procedures of associate professor candidates who are undergoing legal investigation or prosecution, until the latter processes are finalized.

Executive Decree 676 Articles 84-86 have amended the Law on Higher Education specifying that public universities’ presidents will be appointed by the President from among three candidates nominated by Higher Education Council, and foundation-owned universities presidents will be appointed also by the President from among the candidates nominated by the boards of trustees and approved by Higher Education Council. In case none of the candidates are appointed within a month and the Higher Education Council does not name new candidates within two weeks, the President can make a direct appointment.

The same executive decree sets university presidents’ term in office as 4 years. At the end of this period, a president can be reappointed through the same method, however, cannot serve as a president for more than two terms in the same state university.

After this executive decree, Law on the Amendment of the Executive Decree on the Foundation and Duties of the Ministry of National Education and Certain Laws and Executive Decrees was passed on December 2, 2016. Accordingly, universities’ power to carry out disciplinary investigations about and impose punishment on their faculty members has now been partially transferred to the President of the Higher Education Council in her / his status as disciplinary supervisor. Furthermore, this law has stipulated that all disciplinary infractions for civil servants will apply to the faculty members of universities as well.

Executive Decree 678 Articles 23-24 have made an addition to the Law on Higher Education, stipulating that in case the license of a foundation-owned university is suspended temporarily, the foundation shall be run by the General Directorate of Foundations until the appointment of a special administration by the court. Furthermore, the same article will apply to the foundation-owned universities whose licenses had been suspended before this article came into effect.

Executive Decree 690 Articles 64-65 have stated that university presidents will obtain permission for annual leaves and overseas trips from the President of the Higher Education Council, and the other managers from their immediate superiors. Furthermore, any diplomas or degrees obtained from overseas higher education institutions, institutes and centers who are considered by the Ministry of National Education to have ties with terror organizations will not be valid in Turkey.

Executive Decree 694 Articles 44-45 have added an article to Law on Higher Education specifying that the activities and principles of higher education institutions under the Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Interior can be determined by a separate law aside from this law. Furthermore, state universities in Turkey can now establish overseas academic units upon the suggestion of Turkey Maarif Foundation, opinion of appropriateness of the Higher Education Council and the decision of the Council of Ministers.

Executive Decree 703 Article 135 amended the Law no. 2547 on Higher Education, such that, henceforth the President will directly appoint the presidents of state and foundation-owned universities, and that the appointment of the university president at foundation-owned universities will follow the nomination of candidates by the board of trustees. The previous requirement for university president candidates to have worked for three years as a professor was also removed from the Law no. 2547.