Has the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forged his college diploma? After several media reports the title is older than the university that issued it. The Turkish Constitution stipulates that the president must present a high school diploma.
His diploma is issued in 1981 by Marmara University, now doubts as to its authenticity have risen. The problem: The University was founded in the 1982. Even the dean and the rector, who allegedly signed, got hired 1982. Graphic artists took the floor that the font in which the diploma is written, was not on the market in the year 1981. In addition, the public transport company of the city of Istanbul provides proudly at their website that Erdogan has been working until 1981 as a full-time worker at their company.
The allegations accompanied Erdogan his entire presidency, but would probably be without the opposition pro-Kurdish "Democratic Party of Peoples" (HDP) forgotten. Their steady demand to the Election Commission to submit the diploma from Erdogan, led last week to success.
"There are allegations of forgery," says the deputy Idris Baluken of the HDP. "It would be easy to refute it: date of enrollment, the list of the awarded diplomas and the original of the diploma." But President and Commission would give "not satisfactory answers".
Yusuf Hallacoglu, deputy leader of the right "Nationalist Action Party" (MHP), was incensed: "I say to the President: Your diploma is a fake and what is he doing? He is even not pulling me in front of the law court?" Hallacoglu was among the first who declared publicly that Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not meet the requirements to hold the office of Turkish President.
According to the Turkish Constitution only candidate can be elected president, who are older than forty years old and be able to prove a university degree with a minimum of four years of study. But Erdogan attended only one educational institution that issued diplomas after two years and possesses no admission as University explains MHP politicians Hallacoglu. This seems more likely, as Erdogan graduated from the religious Imam Hatip schools. At that time, graduates from religious schools did not got accepted from universities.
Before the presidential elections of 2014 finally the wind was taken out of the sails of the allegations. The Rector of Marmara University, Zafer Gül, a loyal follower of the ruling AKP and a friend of Erdogan, published a photograph of Erdogan's diploma. Erdogan was a graduate of Marmara University - he had studied at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences.
Critics fear that the debate about Erdogan's diploma will remain without consequences. The Electoral Commission rejected requests for checking the authenticity of the diploma. The strongest opposition party in parliament, the Republican People's Party (CHP) has even tabled a motion to remove the university degree as a prerequisite for president under the Constitution. The reasoning is remarkable: “Not only Erdogan’s reputation gets damaged from the speculation about his diploma, but Turkey and the office of the president”.
Elsewhere gets such a behavior called ad hoc legislation. My opinion is that the reputation from Erdogan, the office of the president and the Turkey got already damaged because the law existed and got broken already.
And yet, although the country's media avoid the subject, it spreads through the social networks. Erdogan is not squeamish when it comes to libel. Even students, who post on Facebook anything critical about him, need to fear the revenge of the president. He has placed thousands of lawsuits since he got elected, but that the President has no university degree, it may be said with impunity, as already Yusuf Hallacoglu of the MHP has done it.
If it would come to a trial, the diploma would probably need to get presented as a proof for Erdogan.