One of the Constitutional requirements to be able to serve as Turkey’s President is to have a college diploma, and Turkey’s association of professors have declared fake that of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan, which presents him as having graduated from «Marmara University».
A statement published by them on June 8th described the multiple possible explanations for irregularities of his diploma, then concluded, «But he cannot be represented as a graduate of Marmara University» (or, in the Turkish original of their statement, «Ancak Marmara Üniversitesi mezunu olarak gösterilemez»). He can’t, because his diploma is dated 4 March 1981 from the Economic and Administrative Sciences Faculty of Marmara University, and that’s a Faculty which wasn’t even part of Marmara University until 1983; in 1981, it was instead a college independent of the University, and known then only as the Aksaray Academy of Economic and Commercial Sciences. If he had actually possessed a diploma from that college, no «Marmara University» would have been printed on it.
So, he has always been misrepresenting himself by saying that, in 1981, he «received a Business Administration degree from the Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences (Marmara University)». He has presented no authentic evidence that he graduated from any college at all. Consequently, the professors’ association wrote, «This is bad practice, because the president is not a graduate of Marmara University ‘Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences’» – definitely not of Marmara University (which didn’t even exist until 28 March 1982), and probably not of Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences either (though it could be that he was, but that he had lost his diploma from there, and – being a psychopath – forged the one that he now shows, so as not to be declared illegal to run for, or serve as, the President of Turkey).
The relevant provision of the Turkish Constitution, in its original 1982 version, is:
ARTICLE 101. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of office of seven years by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among its own members who are over 40 years of age and who have completed their higher education or from among Turkish citizens who fulfil these requirements and are eligible to be deputies.
In 2007, that was revised to: «The President of the Republic shall be elected by the public from among the Turkish Grand National Assembly members who are over 40 years of age and have completed higher education or from among ordinary Turkish citizens who fulfill these requirements and are eligible to be deputies. The president’s term of office shall be five years. The President of the Republic can be elected to two terms at most».
This provision wasn’t present in the original Ataturk Constitution of 1924, but became present in the 1961 Constitution, where its form was: «ARTICLE 95 – The President of the Turkish Republic shall be elected for a term of seven years from among those members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly who have completed their fortieth year and received higher education».
So, during the period of 1924-1961, there was no such educational requirement, in order for a person to be able to run for and serve as the President.
This issue for Erdogan didn’t exist until he entered the Grand National Assembly in 2003; but, after that time, he was contending for the Presidency, which he finally won in 2014, and the professors’ association is saying that he occupies that office illegally.
An article in Al-Monitor, on June 15th, was titled «Is Erdogan’s university diploma forged?» and Cengiz Çandar wrote: «If it turns out Erdogan was never qualified to be elected president, whatever he has signed or implemented would have to be considered null and void from a purely legal point of view». The professors’ association avoided addressing the governmental and political implications of their saying, «But he cannot be represented as a graduate of Marmara University». At the end of Çandar’s article was also this about the governmental implications: «It is mind-boggling. But if Erdogan's diploma ends up being a forgery, even Turkey's cowed media will not be able to ignore or avoid the explosive scandal that would result, with all its international dimensions». Now that Erdogan’s ‘diploma’ clearly is a forgery (or has, in so many words, been nailed as being such, by the professors’ association), and the only remaining question is therefore whether he lost an authentic one (and so he’s simply a psychopathic liar who had goofed), people are waiting to see if an authentic one exists. Perhaps instead, however, the issue will just fade away, since most Turks apparently tolerate dictatorship if it’s one they happen to agree with. (Otherwise, Erdogan wouldn’t even be in his present office.)
Marmara University has been placed into an awkward position by Erdogan’s forgery. Anadolu Agency, which is Turkey’s government-run equivalent of America’s Associated Press, headlined on 26 January 2013, «130th Anniversary of Marmara University: Marmara University decorated Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan with an honorary doctorate degree», but no mention was made then of Erdogan’s having claimed to have studied at MU, even though his having ‘graduated’ from that University (which, as was previously mentioned, never even had that name, until 1982) was, among Turks, a point of prestige for the University. Until recently, the University had simply basked quietly in the President’s glow. But Marmara University’s Catalog during the year 1995-96, in the catalog’s section «History of the University» did make note of one relevant fact here: that, «In accordance with the Act 2800, of November 6, 1981, The Istanbul Academy of Economics and Commercial Sciences was finally recognized as [named] Marmara University in July 25, 1982». So, even the University cannot reasonably deny that something is wrong with Erdogan’s ‘diploma’.
On 3 June 2016, a new website «Turkish Minute», which had started operation shortly after Erdogan on 5 March 2016 arrested and charged with treason the top management at Turkey’s largest (and often critical of Erdogan) newspaper, Today’s Zaman, headlined «Marmara University rector confirms Erdoğan is a graduate», and that report presenting the government’s line, might have helped to precipitate the collective statement from the professors’ association, explaining why the diploma was actually fake. Then, on June 18th, a blogger, «ufilter», headlined «The story of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fake degree and diploma», and provided yet additional details of its fakery, and further mentioned that at least two investigative journalists, in separate incidents, had recently died, suddenly and mysteriously, soon after having released their reports pointing out problems with Erdogan’s ‘diploma’. So, when Cengiz Çandar, on June 15th, referred to «Turkey’s cowed media», there was apparently good reason for them to be «cowed».