An Istanbul private university founded in 2008 by Erdogan’s ally-turned-rivals, including former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been handed over to a public university.
Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YOK) announced the turn-over of Sehir University to the city’s public Marmara University on Thursday, soon after Davutoglu announced his new political party with limited but notable criticism against the Turkish president and his ruling party.
According to the written statement released by YOK, Sehir University has been facing financial problems that “made the education and training activities unsustainable” for a while now.
“We decide that Istanbul Sehir University’s official authorization be temporarily halted and its management be handed over to its guarantor Marmara University,” YOK said on Thursday.
Earlier in 2019, a Turkish court ordered a freeze on the assets of the Sehir University after the country’s state-owned Halkbank asked for an arrest of funds over its concern that the university would not be able to pay back the 417 million lira ($72 million) credit.
The court’s decision was interpreted by many as politically-motivated since Davutoglu recently launched a new political party to challenge Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 17-year-rule.
Davutoglu, who served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with Erdogan, announced on December 13 the launch of its new political formation named Future Party.
The party has 154 founding members, mostly ex-prominent figures of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
When announcing his resignation from the AKP on September 13, 2019, Davutoglu underlined that the party was no longer able to solve the country’s problems and no longer allowed internal debate.
Erdogan recently accused Davutoglu as well as former Deputy Prime Ministers Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek and former Transportation Minister Feridun Bilgin of attempting to defraud Halkbank through financial dealings for the Sehir University.
Erdogan alleged that they defrauded the state-owned bank in an attempt to save the university from the financial crisis it has been facing.
Babacan, who is also readying for a new political movement to rival Erdogan’s ruling AKP government, formerly stated that he wants to launch the party that is said to include Simsek before the end of 2019.