National constitutions determine the foundation and the operation of universities in a country. Constitutions are renewed to meet changing societal needs. In Turkey, universities have also been affected by constitutional changes. This study examines how universities have evolved in the history of Turkey’s written constitutions and seeks to use this development to shed light on the structure and activities of today’s universities. To this end, those articles in the six Turkish constitutions which have affected universities were identified and used as data sources. The work examines the first constitution written in 1876 up to the most recent 1982 constitution. The document review method was used to collect the data and the articles found were evaluated using the descriptive analysis method. The findings show that there were no articles which affected universities in the 1876, 1908 and 1921 constitutions. These were put into force in the 1924 constitution, which was introduced after the start of the Republic. It was found that universities were granted considerable powers and scientific autonomy in the 1961 constitution, but this autonomy was limited by the changes made in the 1982 constitution. In addition, it was found that military coups were responsible for some of the constitutional changes which affected the universities.
Key words: Turkey, university, constitution, social change.
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