YÖK’s head Yusuf Ziya Özcan said people who were expelled from university following the Sept. 12, 1980 coup would be granted amnesty. Approximately 800,000 people are expected to benefit from the education board’s decision next year. “Whatever the reason, people whose pursuit of a higher education was cut short following 1980 will be able to restart their educational career; there will be no conditions attached to the amnesty,” Özcan said yesterday.
He indicated those who had their university educations cut short because of “crimes related to terrorism” will be able to become students again. The amnesty will also benefit female students who were expelled from university for wearing headscarves. The new arrangement will include students who were pursuing their bachelor’s or their master’s degrees.
During the coup period of 1980, approximately 5,000 people were expelled from university. They were dubbed the “victims of 1402,” the number of the rule that led to their expulsion from university. One of those who suffered from this ruling was Professor Tahir Hatipoğlu, who said thousands of students were affected by unjust practices during the coup period. “Those young people are the lost generation of the country. Opening up new avenues for them to obtain their diplomas will be a good way of making up for the coup period,” he said.
Harun Akalp, spokesperson for the Right to Education Cannot be Obstructed Platform, said he is looking forward to resuming his education at the School of Communication at Gaziantep University. YÖK’s Özcan added that if students are not able to complete their education in a certain number of years, they will no longer be expelled from university. “As long as they pay extra tuition they can continue their education,” he explained.