Istanbul Bilgi University

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Istanbul Bilgi University
Istanbul Bilgi.svg
Motto"Non scholae sed vitae discimus"
Motto in English
We do not learn for the school, but for life
RectorProf. Dr. Ege Yazgan
CampusSantralistanbul • Dolapdere • Kuştepe
AffiliationsIlbak Holding



Istanbul Bilgi University (Turkish: İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi) is a university in Istanbul, Turkey, owned by Ilbak Holding,which has ties to the AKP (Justice and Development Party) of Turkey. [1]In Turkish, bilgi means "knowledge" or "information".

The Bilgi Education and Culture Foundation was founded on October 31, 1994, in Istanbul.[2] The school has three campuses in Istanbul.[3] As of 2016, Bilgi University has 18,000 students, nearly 1,000 academic staff members, six facilities, five institutes, five schools, three vocational schools, and 200 programs that provide education to its associate, undergraduate and graduate students. The university has graduated approximately 30,000 students.[4]

In February 2019, Laureate Education stated that it was divesting from Bilgi University.[5][6]

Rankings and awards[edit]

İstanbul Bilgi University ranked third among private foundation universities in Turkey for its undergraduate placement according to the 2011 National Student Selection and Placement Center (National Exam Center) and was ranked among the top 10 institutions of higher education in Turkey, according to Webometrics.

In 2019, Bilgi is rated by uniRank as the 3rd best university in Turkey and 377th globally. [7]

History and organization[edit]

In 1994, a precursor to the University, Istanbul School of International Studies, operated in partnership with Portsmouth University and the London School of Economics offering courses in Business Administration, International Relations, Economics, and LSE Economics programs. Istanbul Bilgi University opened in earnest in 1996. The university provides a liberal arts and business-economics oriented curriculum in Turkey. Istanbul Bilgi University joined Laureate International Universities in 2006 and is one of the largest private universities in the country.

Bilgi is administrated by a Board of Trustees having nine members.[8] The main responsibilities of the board are to select the rector of Bilgi University, to determine the goals and strategic direction of the University, and to approve the annual budget. The university's rector is elected by a vote of the board members every four years.The rector of the University is given the authority for actual control of the university, including day-to-day management. In practice, part of this responsibility is delegated by the rector to other departments of the administration, to the faculty, and to the student support center.

Istanbul Bilgi University is a member of the European University Association (EUA), the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the OECD/IMHE (Program on Institutional Management in Higher Education). Bilgi is also a very active participant in the Erasmus exchange network and has strong academic affiliations with numerous universities abroad.Erasmus Programme

On February 10, 2009, Istanbul Bilgi University announced that it would join the Laureate International Universities network.[citation needed]

In 2010, Recep Erdogan was awarded an honorary degree by one of Bilgi's sister schools in Spain, Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM).[9] The same year, Samil Erdogan became the administrator of Bilgi's International Center.[10] On October 2, 2010, US President Bill Clinton also presented a speech to hundreds of students at Bilgi University.[11]


Bilgi University is organised into six distinct faculties, a vocational school, and four institutions which form the university's graduate school.[12]

  • Faculty of Communication
  • Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Arts and Science
  • School of Advanced Vocational Studies
  • School of Engineering
  • Graduate School
  • Post Graduate Programs


Santral Istanbul[edit]

The largest of the three university campuses, spreading over an area of 118,000 m² (30 acres approx.). The SantralIstanbul (Turkish: Santralİstanbul), opened in 2007, is an arts and cultural complex located at the upper end of Golden Horn in the Eyüp district of Istanbul, Turkey. The center, consisting of an energy museum, an amphitheater, concert halls and a public library, is situated within the Silahtarağa campus of Istanbul Bilgi University that was formerly the first power station of the Ottoman Empire.


Bilgi's Dolapdere campus received the 2002 "Structure and Life Architecture Award" and the 2005 "European Award for Steel Structure." Located in ten minutes away from Taksim, the heart of art scene, social activities and city life.It hosts the faculty of Law along with other faculties divided between Santral Campus. It is the home to Bilgi's swimming team, having state of art gym and swimming facilities available for all Bilgi students.


This campus is located in Şişli district, the center of İstanbul and the business life. The campus is solely dedicated to English preparatory school having mostly international staff. This campus facilitates non-English speaking students from all over the world and Turkey, having one of the most extensive English language program in the country which aims to prepare student in their further studies at Bilgi.

Student life[edit]

Student union[edit]

Students at Bilgi are represented by a Student Union elected by the students each year during the fall semester. The union has the right to interfere in various issues regarding the school. Academic representatives from each department, elected by the students in the fall semester, are also a part of the union.

Libraries and museums[edit]

Bilgi has three libraries, one in the Dolapdere campus, one in the Kuştepe campus, and one in the SantralIstanbul campus. Bilgi Library offers an extensive system to support university degree programs, research and teaching. The virtual library contains more than 357.000 electronic books, 58.000 electronic journals, 110 electronic databases and encyclopedias. Access to these resources is available over internet, on-campus and off-campus.

In addition to its library at the SantralIstanbul campus, Bilgi opened a modern arts museum, named Santralistanbul, which hosts conferences, seminars, and exhibitions started in the fall semester of 2007.

Notable past and present faculty[edit]

Academic freedom and dissent[edit]

Bilgi University professor and journalist Ahmet Şık was detained by Turkish authorities from 2011 to 2012 and his book was banned.[13] Sik and Nedim Şener reported on human rights abuses committed by the military and the country's intelligence agencies, claiming Turkish police had been infiltrated by the Islamic Movement.[14]

In March 2016, Chris Stephenson (Cantab), a computer science professor, was detained as a possible terrorist, for distributing a leaflet for a New Year's celebration involving a Kurdish group. A prosecutor accused Stephenson of "making propaganda of a terror organisation" because there were messages and pictures "aimed at making PKK propaganda".[15]

In June 2016, Communications Professor Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğlu was fired for allegedly speaking insultingly about Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.[16][17][18] Bilgi University announced Balıkçıoğlu's dismissal on its website on June 16, a day after pro-government media outlets criticized the academic for her remarks in class describing the president as “vulgar and rude". History Professor Christoph K. Neumann resigned after his colleague’s dismissal,[19] saying that “an institution without those freedoms cannot be called a university. It is your responsibility to find an appropriate name for that institution, but Bilgi is no longer a university”.[20] On July 1 students at Bilgi University protested the firing of Professor Balıkçıoğlu at a graduation ceremony, forcing Rector Mehmet Durman to resign.[21] Students turned their backs to the stage and law school graduates carried signs saying 'We are on Zeynep teacher’s side', 'It’s my expression, it’s my freedom' and 'This country is not ours, it belongs to those who want to kill us' during the graduation ceremony to protest Balıkçıoğlu’s dismissal.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boyutu, Karakter. "Bilgi Üniversitesi'nin yeni sahibinin bilinmeyenleri". Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Istanbul Bilgi University". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  4. ^ webteam. "Bilgi University History". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  5. ^ "10K". US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  6. ^ "10Q". US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Istanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi". Unirank. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  8. ^ webteam. "Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  9. ^ "UEM awards degree to Turkish Prime Minister". 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  10. ^ webteam (2015-01-13). "Istanbul Bilgi University News&Events". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  11. ^ "President Clinton speaks at İstanbul Bilgi University". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  12. ^ "Istanbul Bilgi University". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  13. ^ Albayrak, Ayla (2011-11-16). "Jailed Author's Banned Book Launched - Emerging Europe Real Time - WSJ". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  14. ^ "'The Imam's Army': Arrested Journalist's Book Claims Turkish Police Infiltrated by Islamic Movement - SPIEGEL ONLINE". 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  15. ^ Akkoc, Raziye. "British academic accused of 'making terrorist propaganda'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  16. ^ "Turkish university professor sacked for insulting President Erdoğan during lecture". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  17. ^ Sharkov, Damien. "Turkey: University Professor Quits After Colleague Is Sacked for 'Insulting' Erdogan". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  18. ^ "Bilgililer Akademisyen Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğluna Sahip Çıkıyor Haberi ve Son Dakika Haberler Mynet". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  19. ^ a b "Bilgi University students protest rector over dismissal of academic - Turkish Minute". 13 October 2016.
  20. ^ "Professor resigns after colleague dismissed for 'insulting Erdoğan' - RIGHTS". 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  21. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-03-04.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°00′46.93″N 28°57′49.95″E / 41.0130361°N 28.9638750°E / 41.0130361; 28.9638750