Erdoğan-appointed rector plagiarised parts of his dissertation - fact-checking website

Fact-checking website Teyit has confirmed reports that the new state-appointed rector of Boğaziçi University, Melih Bulu, plagiarised parts of his doctoral dissertation.

Scribbr, a plagiarism checker app, found Bulu's doctoral dissertation contained 20 percent plagiarised content, Teyit said on its website.

The organisation said 10-15 percent similarity with other published works can be tolerated in the plagiarism evaluations made by universities which use online services such as Turnitin or Scribbr.

The first half of Bulu’s dissertation consisted of a literature review which had many long quotes cited without quotation marks, interpretations or correct references, Teyit said.

“Plagiarism made in the literature review reveals that the study is problematic in terms of scientific research ethics,” the organisation said. “It can be said that in the second half of the thesis, the sections which include the methodology pursued and the data and the results obtained by the dissertation, have a unique content."

Bulu has rejected the allegations of plagiarism made by academics and analysts, dismissing them as lies.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s announcement of Bulu’s appointment last week has sparked mass demonstrations comprised mainly of students and academics calling for the new rector’s resignation. More than 30 students have been held in custody over the protests.

Bulu is an academic who unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the 2015 general election. Critics say the Bulu’s appointment at Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University undercuts academic freedoms at a time when the government is promising democratic reform.