In January, Turkish security forces raided Istanbul's Bilgi
University amid reports that a student had produced a pornographic film for
his dissertation. At least three university lecturers were dismissed amid
pressure by Turkish prosecutors, Middle East Newsline reported.
Critics said Erdogan has launched a crackdown on university freedom as
well as the arts. In a recent visit to the Armenian border, the
prime minister called for the destruction of a monument that depicted
friendship between Ankara and Yerevan.
So far, authorities have not released any evidence that the student film
was pornographic. The 53-year-old Baykam said this marked the latest
evidence of official harassment of non-Islamic university professors and
"Our government is trying, step by step, to turn our community inside
out," Baykam told the German weekly Der Spiegel. "Professors are being
intimidated, and university rectors are being brought into line
ideologically. Things that ostensibly do not fit with Islam are being
The government this year also moved to restrict alcohol sales and
consumption. Erdogan has maintained that the new regulations were meant to
protect youngsters from alcohol.
"I might have a certain attitude against alcohol in my personal life and
within my family," Erdogan told a business group on Jan. 20.
"But as we are
democratic, in addition to conservative, we
are very sensitive about not imposing our personal judgments on society."