En Turquie nos collègues ont besoin de nous

La situation en Turquie empire de jour en jour, et la répression s’abat en particulier sur les 1128 universitaires qui ont signé la pétition « We will not be a party to this crime », rendue publique le 11 janvier 2016. Le collectif Academics for the Peace tient depuis lors le compte des représailles du régime – mises à pied, suspensions, harcèlements… Ci-dessous le dernier rapport en date : la liste est impressionnante, et s’allonge de jour en jour.

L’urgence est à permettre aux collègues de sortir du territoire turc pour échapper aux représailles, notamment avant le réquisitoire public du procureur de la république qui va immanquablement empirer la situation – les signataires sont accusés de propagande pour une organisation terroriste et/ou d’insulte à la nation, et certains sont déjà interdits de sortie du territoire.

Parmi les solutions à notre portée, et que certaines universités et/ou collègues individuels mettent déjà en œuvre :

  • le plus rapide consiste à utiliser des financements contractuels (ANR, ERC, labex ou autres) pour offrir des contrats aux collègues menacés, même courts, justifiant et finançant un séjour en France ;
  • mettre en place au niveau des universités et autres établissements de l’ESR des bourses d’urgence, par exemple pris sur les fonds dédiés à l’accueil de collègues étrangers ;
  • d’autres possibilités existent selon les cas particuliers, et la meilleure option est d’entrer en contact avec le collectif Academics for Peace (BAK) pour les envisager.

Pour toute question, offre, soutien…, le contact de la commission internationale de Academics for Peace (supprimer bien sûr les [ ] et espaces) :

bak-uluslararasi-iliskiler-grubu [@] googlegroups.com

Pour obtenir des contacts francophones : o.roueff [@] free.fr

 

BAK raporu – Ceviri

ACADEMICS FOR PEACE,  REPORT of the SOLIDARITY GROUP CONCERNING THE CURRENT SITUATION: Violations of human rights, freedom of speech and academic freedoms following the  declaration, “We will not be a party to this crime…”

(24.02.2016)

 

  1. BACKGROUND

The declaration of the Academics for Peace (Barış İçin Akademisuenler, BAK) “we will not be a party to this crime”, signed by 1128 individuals, a majority of whom work in academic institutions in Turkey, was made public in two press conferences held simultaneously in Ankara and İstanbul on January 11, 2016. Following the press conference nearly one thousand more of our colleagues joined in signing the declaration, hence, now, the total number of signatories now amounts to 2212. In the days following the press conference, signatories from 89 universities across Turkey faced accusations such as “supporters of terror”, “traitors”, “straw or copy intellectuals” in public statements made personally by the President of the Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over nationally broadcasting tv and radio stations, in addition to several other government authorities, such as the Council of Higher Education (CoHE), the Inter-university Council, and by the presidencies of various universities1.

In some cities lynching campaigns against academics were held which included many instances of threats, intimidation and targeting, putting the life of our colleagues at risk234. In addition, some university administrations taking the statements of the President of the Republic as orders initiated administrative interrogation processes on individual academics, some taking full responsibility in such extralegal practices as firing, “preventive suspension,” “ban on entering the university campus” thus violating the right to work of many prof.s, assoc. prof.s., assist prof.s in addition to teaching assistants, lecturers and researchers56.  In several cases individual academics were called to the local police or the  prosecutor’s office to give their statement as to why they had signed the declaration.

The whole process reflects the further deterioration and dissolution of freedom of expression, academic freedom and autonomy in Turkey7. Thus far we have learned that the signatories will be brought to court under Article 7 of the Anti-terror Law (Terörle Mücadele Kanunu, TMK) for “propagandizing in favor of the terrorist organization” and/or under the Articles 301 and 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (Türk Ceza Kanunu, TCK) for “insulting Turkishness.”8.

This report is an attempt to compile the de facto and de jure rights’ violations that over 100 signatory academics and researchers faced following the press conference. It also depicts our urgent needs  in terms of safety of life,  security of work, legal support and supportive networks.

  1. THREATS AND TARGETING  

In a majority of the universities where signatory academics and researchers are/were employed, the university presidency, local media and various hostile groups held smear campaigns most likely  motivated by the government and the national and/or the local media. As numerous university presidencies denounced the petition, signatories were and are being defamed and discredited, forced to resign and/or dismissed or  suspended “conditionally”. They are subjected to various allegations such as “traitor”, “terrorist”, and “so-called academic” and are currently facing investigations, unemployment with no social benefits, physical abuse and death threats, aimed at showing the “Unity of Turkish citizens against the declaration”.  Some colleagues have been unable to enter their university campus for fear of life, a few have even left the cities/towns where they had been living, aiming to move elsewhere..

The source of the threats and attacks are not limited by high-ranking officers of the state and government, but also include those of a notorious criminal, Sedat Peker, who publicly threatened the academics with death. A statement including “we will stream their blood and take a shower in it910 ” was printed in several newspapers and can be viewed on his personal website. On January 14, 2016, Özgürlükcü Hukukcular Dernegi (ÖHD, Association of Libertarian Legists)11, and on January 18, 2016, Labour Union of Teachers (Egitim-Sen)12 filed criminal complaints regarding such hate speech and vicious threats of Sedat Peker. Another targeting practice was the news item in Beyaz Gazete, where individual signatories were shown with their names, photographs and university affiliations , covering a whole page13. (http://beyazgazete.com/1100akademisyen )

The Solidarity Group of  BAK documented all such incidents as they came to our attention and below are the details, so far, of the treatments our colleagues have been facing from the universities, officials and the media, and local residents.

Abant İzzet Baysal University (Bolu)

Among the first group of signatories, three academics were targeted by the local, national and social media, following which  hostile groups hung threatening messages on their office doors. These individuals fear for their lives.

Atatürk University (Erzurum)

At the Atatürk University, an academic working  as a research assistant under 50/D contract14 was targeted by local and national media, received threats via phone and social media, and in one instance his office in the university was occupied by total strangers. This person cannot go to the university and fears for his life.

Update (February 7, 2016): The signatory academic applied to the Erzurum Police Headquarters for protection. S/He was threatened by a police officer from the Protection Unit Directorship. The police officer said the following: “If I knew the signatory; I would shoot him on the head. »15

Ankara University (Ankara)

A professor working at Ankara University, was targeted by national newspapers such as Yeni Şafak, Yeni Akit, Sabah (pro-government national dailies) after asking a final exam question on the petition “we will not be a party to this crime”. The headlines were “petition of treason becomes a university course exam question”; following which,  the university professor started receiving menacing e-mails and death threats. This university professor was brought to court and acquitted a few weeks ago, at the end of January.

Two academics working at Ankara University found obnoxious writings on their office doors, in addition to receiving oral and written threats.

Çukurova University (Adana)

Three academics, from among the first group of 1128 signatories of the petition, were exposed to public allegations such as “supporter(s) of terror” , and were openly aimed at through a Facebook account named  “Çukurova University Student Council”. They continue to receive threats and abusive messages via the social media.

Düzce University (Düzce)

An Associate Professor at Düzce University was targeted for being a “terror supporter” and received several threats. Düzce University started an administrative investigation against the academic and ordered “preventive suspension.” Finally, the public prosecutor filed a lawsuit against her/him????? and the professor was banned from leaving the country until his/her case was finalized in court.

Ege University (İzmir)

10 academics, among the first group of  signatories, at the Ege University, are  now being defamed and targeted by their colleagues.

Eskişehir Osman Gazi University (Eskişehir)

Three research assistants, also among the first group of signatories of the declaration, working at the Eskişehir Osman Gazi University,  were targeted by the local press. Banners and declarations, including expressions  such as “We Do Not Want Terrorists in Our University” in addition to receiving death threats and insulting messages have the power to hurt these individuals in  a variety of ways;

Eskişehir Anadolu University (Eskişehir)

19 signatory academics, were targeted by the local and national press as “supporters of terror”. The call of the President of the Eskişehir Eğitim-Bir-Sen (a teachers’ union, branch No. 2)16 for the “suspension from the university” of the related academics “from their posts as soon as possible and for the total cancellation of their rights as civil servants” was widely disseminated through the local press.

A research assistant among this same group was targeted in Yeni Şafak (a pro-government national daily) due to the items s/he posted on her Facebook page. The same research assistant has received hundreds of messages containing death threats and hence can no longer go to her office.

Update (February 17, 2016): The research assistant concerned was suspended from her/his post. The problem of  “security of life” is no longer acute and immediate..

Fatih University (İstanbul)

An Assistant Professor at Fatih University was targeted via the social media, and offensive groups hang up threat messages on the door of this person.

Gazi University (Ankara)

Three academics, who signed the petition, were targeted by national and local media, and threatened by various hate groups. A group called “Nationalists of Gazi” hung threat messages on their office door and attempted to set their office on fire. Additionally, an academic working at the same, Gazi University, published threats on social media against these fellow colleagues. As a result, these individuals can no longer go to their offices at the university and are seeking for ways to stay away from the university for an extended period to circumvent such menace.

Hacettepe University (Ankara)

21 academics, among the first group of signatories, were targeted by a group called “Hacettepe Nationalists” within the university, who put messages such as “we do not want university professors who support the terrorist PKK” on the doors of those individuals.

17  academics, from among the first group, were intimidated via a Facebook account with writings such as “university teachers supporting terror” and “We do not want terror at Hacettepe” . A signatory was blustered on the same Facebook page with the writing “The murderer of the 4-year-old Irem is among us”. Other abusive, damaging and menacing statements were hung on this person’s office door attached to the Facebook post. These persons continue to receive threats via the social media.

Kırıkkale University (Kırıkkale)

An assistant professor, also a signatory, was targeted due to news disseminated through local and national press, and a public announcement issued by the university presidency.  A group of nationalist students put up a poster on the same academic’s office door, reading “We do not want (name of prof) who supports the PKK.” The same individual has been targeted through narratives on social media accounts, receiving insulting , poison-pen messages; and is unable to to go on campus for obvious reasons.

Kocaeli University (Kocaeli)

21 academics who signed the petition were scapegoated by the local press as  “academics who support terror”. Also, nationalist groups of students put up menacing posters on their office doors.

Sakarya University (Sakarya)

Two research assistants and one Ph.D. student, who signed the petition were targeted in the local press. Aggressive groups put up posters on their office doors which read “fake academics, actual traitor; we will not let you live in Sakarya.” Both were insulted and continue to receive death threats. Neither can go to work due.

Selçuk University (Konya)

An assistant professor is threatened by aggressive groups and targeted by local press. A group, which calls itself as “The Idealists of Selçuk University” put up posters on her/his office door which said “there is no place for traitors on our honorable Turkish soil.”

Mersin University (Mersin)

20 academics, who signed the petition were targeted via a Facebook account named “Üniversiteli Bozkurtlar” (Grey Wolves-nationalist youth group- in the University); their photos, names and the departments in which they work were made public on this page. The same academics continue to receive threatening messages via the social media.

Pamukkale University (Pamukkale)

A professor, who signed the petition continues to receive threatening messages from a social media account, named “JİTEM. »17 This person is also targeted as “a PKK sympathizer”; and menacing posters were put up on her/his office door.

Ondokuz Mayıs University (Samsun)

7 academics, among the signatories of the petition, were scapegoated  in the local and national press. A petition was started for their dismissal from the university. They have received dozens of insulting and threatening messages and labeled as “traitors,” “supporters of terror” and even accusations from their colleagues in the same university.. The lives of these 7 academics are at stake.

Such incidents, which have rapidly increased since the press conference, are not limited to the universities (89 altogether) listed above. In almost all the universities, where the signatory academics are working, such targeting and threats have taken place. Besides, through such defamation campaigns started through the social media are not limited by twitter and facebook, but include others -such as the ones on eksisozluk.com, a popular forum with hundreds of thousands of followers- the academics are labelled as “traitors” and “supporters of terror.”

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATIONS BY THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENCIES, PROSECUTORIAL INVESTIGATIONS and DUE PROCESS

After the press release of Academics for Peace, offices of public prosecutors in many cities started investigations and prosecutions for the signatory academics based on the various articles of the Turkish penal codes TMK and TCK. Searches were warranted for the offices and homes of the

academics, and academics were taken under custody  especially in Bolu, Düzce, Kocaeli, Bursa and Van. As of January 20, 2016, after testimonies, no arrests took place. The university presidencies perceived the statements of the President, Prime Minister, CoHE, and Interuniversity Council as “orders” and without any legal basis started the administrative investigation processes.

Below are examples of investigations and the unlawful treatments the academics faced, classified according to the cities.

Adana

Administrative procedure against 2 academics, working at Çukurova University was declared with verbal notice. But the academics concerned have not yet received official written notice.

Ankara

The incumbent President of Hacettepe University, on the last day of his term in office, informed CoHE with an official letter that administrative procedure was started against the academics who signed the petition.

Update (February 1, 2016): The Presidency of Ufuk University started investigation against the woman academic who signed the petition.

Update February 3, 2016): The Presidency of Ankara University started investigation against the signatory academics.

Antalya

Administrative investigation against 8 academics at Akdeniz University was started. The academics submitted their written statements.

Antep

The Presidency of the Gaziantep University started disciplinary investigation; CoHE and prosecutorial investigations were also started. The President of the University declared that “such slogan-like and cheap discourses as ‘the state is involved in massacre’ for one’s own state are not compatible with scientific [stance] and academic freedom.”

Aydın

Adnan Menderes University accepted the declaration by the CoHE Interuniversity Council, which accused the signatory academics as “supporters of terror” and declared that “we would like to inform the public that we will fulfill our responsibility as Adnan Menderes University and that we stand with our state and nation”.

Bartın

Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bartın started investigation about the signatory academic on the accusation of “publicly humiliating Turkish nation, Republic and Turkish Grand National Assembly and propagandizing for terrorist organization”.

The Presidency of the University issued a public declaration, stating that “we take side with the righteous struggle of our state against terror”. The Presidency suspended the post of the related academic as the department head.

Batman

Investigations against 5 academics in Batman University are reported to be started18.

Bingöl

A signatory academician in Bingöl Üniversity, was subjected to investigation due to her/his late start to work between December 14 and January 15. Video records were used as evidence to prove academic’s late arrival. The academician was punished by cut from the salary. (In Turkey academic working hours are flexible as elsewhere. Thus, in this case too, as in other cases the signatory academics are facing with mobbing.

Bolu

The President of the Abant İzzet Baysal University issued a press declaration, saying that “It is not possible for us to approve and accept this declaration. Neither is it acceptable that our academics sign such a declaration. Necessary investigations are started and will be pursued in accordance with the regulations.” The Presidency of the University started administrative investigation too.

The signatories are searched in their houses and their statements are taken with no decision for detention. Administrative investigations are still carried out.

Denizli

Investigation was started against two signatory academics. The academics will submit their written statements on March 2, 2016.

Düzce

The Presidency of the Düzce University has started the administrative investigation against the signatory academic and the academic was suspended from work during the investigation.

Besides, Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Düzce started legal investigation against the concerned academic and issued a warrant for her/him.

Edirne

Investigations against two academics and one Ph.D. student are said to be started in Trakya University.

The Ph.D. student submitted her/his statement to the Prosecutor’s Office in Edirne on January 19, 2016.

S/he received the written notice from the President’s Office on January 22, 2016; was called to submit her/his written statement on February 8, 2016.

Erzincan

Both administrative and criminal investigation against the only signatory academic in Erzincan University was started. The academic was also called to answer questions regarding her/his social media posts.

The academic was also called to submit her/his statement by the Prosecutor’s Office; s/he was first taken to the Struggle Against Terror Unit and then submitted her/his statement directly to the Chief Prosecutor.

Erzurum

Judicial investigation against the only signatory academic (Atatürk University) was started by the Prosecutor’s Office. The signatory academic was released after submitting her/his written statement to the Prosecutor’s Office.

However, the signatory academic was disclosed through the print media immediately after the press declaration. S/he has been facing death threats and has had to seek shelter in the Human Rights Association. S/he has notified the association that her/his life is in danger.

Eskişehir

President of the Eskişehir Osmangazi University announced that he started “suspension from public service” investigation against the 4 academics who signed the petition. Besides, one of the signatories was dismissed from her/his post as International Relations Coordinator.

Investigation against the 15 academics from Anadolu University who signed the petition was said to have started. However, related academics have not yet received official written notice.

As of January 18, 2016 Public Prosecutor’s Office in Eskişehir orally notified that it will not process the investigation file due to “decision of rejection of venue” and that it will submit the file to Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul.

Update (February 17, 2016): At Anadolu University, investigations were started against 13 signatory academics who signed the petition in the second round. 16 among the first signatories have already submitted their statements between February 4-5, 2016.

Giresun

Giresun University publicly declared that the academic who signed the BAK’s petition was suspended from work. In the declaration by the university it is said that “our university has urgently started investigation within the scope of the declaration that characterized the operations against the terrorist organization PKK as ‘massacre’ and that was issued to support terror, and decision of suspension from work was taken.”

Update: (January 26, 2016): In the investigations that are currently carried out, the academics concerned, are called to be present during the investigation at the same time. Their individual statements are read out loud by the investigator into the group of the academics. According to the academic who shared her/his experience the academics–among other things–might probably be accused of “aiming to belittle the university.”

Hakkari

A signatory academic from Hakkari University was taken under custody as part of the ongoing investigation started by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. S/he was released after giving statement to the Public Prosecutor.

İstanbul

In İstanbul, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office started ex officio investigation against 123 signatory academics.

Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has started ex officio investigation against the 82 signatory academics who work in the universities that fall within the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor’s Office. According to the information released the investigation will be processed on the basis of the Articles 30119 and 21620 of the TCK and Article 721 of the TMK.

Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also started investigation against the signatories over the accusation of “propagandizing for terrorist organization”. In the written declaration issued by the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office it is noted that “investigation against those academics, working in the universities that fall within the Bakırköy jurisdiction”. Accordingly, there are 41 academics who fall within the scope of Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s jurisdiction.

In Maltepe University investigation against 3 academics was started. The written notice stated that the investigation was started on the “… conviction that … the concerned declaration was destructive of the peace and working order of the institutions on the grounds of acting or supporting the actions with ideological, political, destructive, disruptive aims by the post of presidency and ex officio and in accordance with the Council of Higher Education Presidency’s written notice (date: January 13, 2016 and No.:73112577.65.”

Update (January 27, 2016): On January 26, 2016, the 3 academics submitted their written statements.

Update (January 30, 2016): Administrative investigations were started in İstanbul Şehir University against the signatory academics.

Update (February 3, 2016): Administrative investigations were started in İstanbul University against the signatory academics

Update (February 4, 2016): At Yeditepe University administrative investigation was started against the signatory academic who had already withdrew her signature The academic was called to submit her defense on February 9, 2016.

Update (February 11, 2016): At Yıldız Teknik University, investigations were started against 31 signatory academics.

Update (February 23, 2016): At Istanbul Ticaret University, the only signatory academic’s contract is terminated on February 22, 2016, for insulting, imputing and directing false accusations against the university on social and conventional media.

İzmir

Yaşar University started investigations against the signatory academics.

Update (February 17, 2016): İzmir University terminated the contract of a signatory academic without “compensation and prior notification.” The academician was notified about the termination of the contract on February 15, 2016.

Kocaeli  

Within the scope of the investigation carried by the Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office 21 academics gave their statements in relation to the accusations directed against them according to the Article 301 of TCK and Article 7 of TMK.

Kocaeli University Senate declared that it perceived the declaration as “support to terror” and that the Presidency of the University started the administrative investigation process for the signatory academics.

Update (February 11, 2016): Investigation was started against 21 signatory academics. The academics were called to submit their statements on February 23, 2016.

Konya

In Selçuk University, the signatory academic was also subjected to the University’s administrative investigation even after withdrawing her/his signature from the petition.

Mersin

Administrative investigation was started in Mersin University against 20 academics.

Muğla

Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Presidency issued a press declaration on January 14, 2016, stating that “those individuals who aim at justifying the martyring of our security forces who work for the protection of our beautiful homeland by terror organizations and suffering of innocent people caused by the terror organizations, who commit guilt by association inside and outside [the country], regardless of their status or profession, shall not be excused.”

“Disciplinary and criminal investigations” are started against 9 academics who signed the petition. As of January 20, 2016, 9 academics were suspended from work for 2 months.

Update (28 January 2016): Disciplinary investigation against 14 of the 15 signatories was started.

Update (2 February 2016): Second round of administrative investigations is started. The administration relies on different clauses in initiating the investigations. A new/separate investigation commission is established.

Samsun

Samsun Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office started ex officio investigation against the 7 signatory academics. In the declaration by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office it is stated that “the text of the declaration, in terms of its content, might comprise the crimes of ‘propagandizing for terrorist organization’, as drawn in Article 7/2 of the TMK and ‘publicly humiliating the State of the Turkish Republic and the institutions and organs of the state’.”

Van

Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Presidency declared that administrative investigations against 4 academic were started and claimed that the text of the petition is a “black propaganda” that aims at “[provoking] hate and animosity, segregation and division among the people.”

  1. FIRING/SUSPENSION OF WORK/FORCED RESIGNATION

FOUNDATION/PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES

Among the 1128 academics who signed the declaration for peace, 216 work in foundation/private universities. The signatory academics who work in foundation/private universities are among those who most frequently face with dismissal from work/being forced to resign by university presidencies. The signatory academics who work in foundation/private universities were forced to resign on the very same day when the press declaration was made (January 11, 2016). Instances of dismissal from the work, which have been rapidly increasing especially in the case of foundation/private universities due to the fact that those universities provide very limited job security to the academics.

Bahçeşehir University (İstanbul)

Bahçeşehir University Senate issued a declaration via social media channels and announced that it “approaches” the petition “with hatred”. However, no notice has so far been issued as to whether an investigation is started against the 6 signatory academics or not.

Başkent University (Ankara)

The only signatory academic was suspended from work.

Update (February 3, 2016): The academic was called back to duty by the Presidency of the University on the grounds that there is need for lecturers in the Spring 2016 term.

Beykent University (İstanbul)

Beykent University started investigation to the only signatory woman academic, who was threatened to be fired. The declaration of the Presidency is important for the direction of the investigation.

Dogus University (İstanbul)

One of the four signatories has withdrawn their signature within the first week, one of them as a doctoral student at another university has gone unheard by the university’s administration. A disciplinary investigation has been conducted and going on regarding the two signatories left. In the meantime one of them who is the Head of Department of Psychology has been temporarily dismissed from the chair.

The dismissal as a precautionary measure was issued to the signatory on the 12th of February, 2016.

Fatih University (İstanbul)

One of the serious attacks against the signatories in the foundation/private universities took place in Fatih University; the only signatory was forced to resign and then was fired. The attacks continued through disclosures and threats via the social media.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet University (İstanbul)

The only signatory academic was first forced to resign, immediately the next day after the press declaration and then s/he was told that her/his employee personal rights would be acknowledged only if s/he resigns. She continued to reject resignation, and thus, her contract was not extended.

İstanbul Arel University (İstanbul)

It was decided to start disciplinary investigation against the 9 signatory academics and that the signatory academics be suspended from work during the investigation process. However, since suspension from work can only hold for 60 days the decision was revoked and it was turned into periodic suspension. The solidarity of the university students and other academics in the university with the signatory academics was effective in this revocation.

Update (January 27, 2016): By the interim decision 9 academics returned to work. The investigation is continuing.

İstanbul Kültür University

Among the signatory academics, the academic whose status is fixed as “instructor salaried per course hour” was dismissed.

İstanbul Ticaret University (İstanbul)

The only signatory academic was said to be fired through news on the print media.

İstanbul 29 Mayıs University (İstanbul)

Written notice for the firing of 2 signatory academics was issued.

 Maltepe University (İstanbul)

One of the academics who did not withdraw their signatures was forced to resign. Later, s/he requested her/his pension rights.

Update (February 5, 2016): One of the signatory academics (Faculty of Architecture) received written notice that s/he was dismissed.

Nişantaşı University (İstanbul)

The Head of the Board of Trustees of Nişantaşı University called for the resignation of the signatory academics. However, the President of the University has not taken any step toward starting any investigation.

Update (February 9, 2016): 6 signatory academics received written notification stating that they are dismissed from their post in the university.

Okan University

One of the 13 signatory academics was fired from her/his post in the university.

Yeni Yüzyıl University (İstanbul)

The sole signatory from this university was under pressure to withdraw her signature to the petition for the first week, After her refusal the rectorate forced her to resign, she again informed them she would not to. Eventually after all these useless efforts they issued a disciplinary investigation on the 22nd of January, In response, she gave her written defense on the 28th of January to the assigned investigator. They did not issue any suspension due to the fact that they had planned to end the procedure as quickly as possible.

Update (25.02.2016): The signatory got a notification of “dismissal from public services” by referring to the Article numbered 11/a of the Higher Education Institutions Disciplinary Regulations on Administrators, Academic and Non-Academic Staff by the rectorate of the university.

 PUBLIC/STATE UNIVERSITIES

  1. 2 Firing/Forced Resignation in Public/State Universities.

The majority of the signatories to the text for peace work in public/state universities. These academics whose employee personal rights are defined within the scope of Law on Civil Servants (No. 657) and Law on Higher Education (No. 2547) were faced with many intimidation cases including disciplinary investigations, suspension from work, death threats, signifying the lack of life and work security in the public/state universities.

Düzce University (Düzce)

An academic who signed the petition for peace was disclosed by the post of Presidency of the university immediately after the press declaration, disciplinary investigation was started. It was decided that the related academic be suspended from work during the investigation. Besides although she was not at home, her home was searched by the police forces within the scope of the judicial investigation; after her statement was taken she was released with the ban on travelling abroad.

Abdullah Gül University (Kayseri)

The only signatory academic was called to resign in the very first day after the press declaration; the academic did not confirm with the request. Instead s/he asked for her/his pension rights.

Adnan Menderes Üniversitesi

One signatory academic was suspended; investigation started against two signatory academics.

Akdeniz University (Antalya)

One of the signatory academics was forced to resign from her/his post as vice director.

Bartın

The Presidency of the University issued a public declaration, stating that “we take side with the righteous struggle of our state against terror”. The Presidency suspended the post of the related academic as the department head.

Uludağ University (Bursa)

Criminal investigation was started against the 3 signatory academics. No administrative investigation has been started, yet. The 3 academics were released after submitting their written statements to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Dicle University (Diyarbakır)

Administrative investigation was not started against the 24 signatory academics. Criminal investigation was started.

Update (February 9, 2016): The University started investigation against 24 academics. 10 of the academics received written notice of the investigation.

Trakya University (Edirne)

Administrative investigation against the 3 signatory academics was started.

Atatürk University (Erzurum)

Update (February 7, 2016): The academic was suspended from his post in the university.

Osmangazi University (Eskişehir)

3 signatory research assistants have faced serious threats. The names and photos of the three research assistants were put on the entrance gate of the university. These were turned into threatening messages and statements.

In due process administrative investigation was started. The post of the Presidency of the University declared that it demanded the suspension of the signatory academics from work and suspended an academic from the post of coordinatorship.

Judicial investigation, which was expected to be started, was transferred to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, due to the decision of rejection of venue.

Anadolu University (Eskişehir)

Administrative investigation against the 19 signatory academics was started.

Judicial investigation was sent to Chief prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, due to the decision of rejection of venue.

Update (February 17, 2016): A research assistant was suspended from her/his post.

 Gaziantep University (Gaziantep)

Administrative investigation was started against the 4 signatory academics in the university22. However, no information regarding the investigation process has yet been received.

Hakkâri University (Hakkâri)

There is only one signatory academic in the university. Judicial investigation was started.

İstanbul University (İstanbul)

Administrative investigations were issued after 83 signatory academics supported the petition. An associate professor was suspended from her/his administrative post of directorship.

Update (February 11, 2016): At İstanbul University, immediately following the press declaration for peace  the Rector’s Office sent written notice to the deans’ offices to suspend the administrative duties/posts of signatory academics. Directorship in research centers, executive board memberships and advisory board memberships, department head and vice-head positions are included in these administrative posts.

In this context, the director of the Research and Implementation Center for Women’s Problems was suspended from her administrative duty by the Rector’s Office. The post of the vice-director was automatically suspended with that of the director. Most of the executive board members of the center are also signatories. So their memberships were also suspended. In this respect, the center stands as the most hurt unit in the university, so far. Years of accumulation with considerable academic labour, engagement and energy was hampered.

The information about the signatory academics who are executive board and advisory board members in the other research centers, affiliated to the Rector’s Office was conveyed by the centers’ directorates to the Rector’s Office. These signatories also await suspension from duty.

In addition one of the signatory department vice-head resigned; two other vice-heads resist resignation and continue in their positions.

Mimar Sinan University (İstanbul)

The signatory academics (77) were informed that administrative investigations would take place, however, none initiated yet.

Dokuz Eylül University (İzmir)

In this university, which is one of the oldest state universities in the city, 14 academics, for whom no administrative investigations were initiated yet, learned that they would face prosecution. As of now, there has been no official warrants or arrests.

Mersin University (Mersin)

In the university, where 20 signatories are present, administrative disciplinary investigations were initiated.

 Sakarya University (Sakarya)

Three signatory academics were exposed with their names and photographs on local media, and disciplinary investigations were initiated by the university presidency. Besides, prosecution process was also initiated for these academics.

Update (February 9, 2016): Administrative and criminal investigation was started against the signatories.

All signatories submitted their statements to the Office of the Prosecutor.

The signatory research assistants applied for annual leave; their application was denied.

One signatory was dismissed from her/his post (13/b) and was assigned to another post in another unit in the university.

Ondokuz Mayıs University (Samsun)

The university presidency initiated an investigation for 6 signatory academics, who are facing life threats. Academics reported to the prosecutor’s office to give a testimony on January 18, 2016.

Tunceli University (Tunceli)

The university presidency announced a disciplinary investigation against 7 signatory academics, however, this was not issued. Despite this fact, the signatories have increased in number (11 academics signed the declaration in the second round in support of their colleagues).

The written notice of the investigation was issued on January 27. The signatory academics were invited to submit their statements between 3-6 February, 2016 (2 statements for each day).

Yalova University

Update (February 11, 2016):

The Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Yalova University first started investigation against the signatory academics; and the written statements of the academics were sent to the legal consultancy department.

On February 11, 2016, the Rector’s Office announced that the investigations were started in lieu of the accusation of “publishing, duplicating, distributing any work or statement, banner, poster and the like that involve political or ideological goals or hanging or exposing these in any place in the institutions” (subclause b of the article 125/E of the Law on Civil Servants (No. 657)). The academics were demanded to submit their written statements on February 18, 2016.

Yüzüncü Yıl University (Van)

Disciplinary investigation was initiated at the university where there are 3 signatories.

Yalova University (İstanbul)

The presidency of the university announced through the press that it started disciplinary investigations against the three signatory research assistants. The Presidency issued a statement on the official website of the university.

The research assistants called to submit their statements upon the affiliated Dean’s Office’s written notice that the investigation was started.

the signatories targeted by the local media on the first day of press release are under life threatening conditions.

Update (January 31, 2016): The academics applied to to the prosecutor’s office after being notified of a criminal investigation initiated by the prosecutor. Then they were notified that no investigation had been started.

Upon the correspondence with the Security Directorate via the lawyers the academics were informed that the Security Press Department will be filing a criminal complaint.

  1. URGENT NEEDS AND DEMANDS
  • The academics have serious life safety issues after being targeted by local and national media, being imposed a smear campaign within the campuses, and being unlawfully investigated by the university presidencies. This problem persists for all of our signatory colleagues, yet more severely pronounced for colleagues working at provincial universities. Many academics cannot go to their offices, or have to change cities due to safety reasons.
  • A large network of judicial solidarity was set up for those academics who are under legal investigations. However, especially in Istanbul and Ankara, the judicial solidarity has to be strengthened for the academics who were not called for testimony yet or whose prosecution processes are ongoing.
  • A strong judicial support has to be established for closely monitoring the disciplinary investigations unlawfully issued by the university presidencies, and for supporting the academics who has received or will receive “conditional suspension” or will be fired from work.
  • The rights to labor of many academics, especially those working at private universities or working under 50/D contracts and through ÖYP assistantship, were being seized. For the time ahead, a strong solidarity fund must be set up, and the academics who will be fiscally adversely affected by the situation have to be supported. To this end, democratic NGOs, for instance Egitim-Sen (the labor union of most signatories), must be included in the process, and a solidarity campaign should be established.
  • Regarding the psychological dimensions of the incidents including life threats, targeting, and unlawful investigations, psychological support mechanisms should be established within the Academics for Peace.

 

CONCLUSION

As this report was completed (January 20, 2016), the process involving unlawful investigations and threats were ongoing at varying levels. After the initial 1128 academics were targeted, the petition was kept open for signature for another five days. Although some of our colleagues were forced to withdraw their signatures, the final number of signatures amounted to 2238. Besides, many professional organisations, academics, NGOs organised solidarity campaigns and petitions domestically and internationally. The solidarity signatures exceeded tens of thousands23.

The steps taken by the government hint at the fact that a much more difficult process is awaiting us in the coming days. After the first 1128 signatory academics were targeted, those academics who joined the petition campaigns to offer solidarity and support for the first signatories and for academic freedom have also been subjected to investigations. Those who put their signatures to solidarity campaign are targeted by the government and the pro-government mass media. It is leaked to the press that rearrangements for the election, selection and appointment of the university presidents is being thought and the government prefers direct presidential appointment of the university presidents by  Council of Higher Education (CoHE)24. Another regulatory change has been opened to discussion for the Law on Civil Servants which is directly related with job security measures. It is anticipated that through these legal changes, precarious employment and work conditions will be institutionalized in many sectors, including the universities.

Overall it is quite clear that concerns, which have led us to put our signatures to the declaration for peace are ever more penetrating to our lives; and that the distance to a social and political environment that is conducive to peace is increasing day by day.

  1. News from The Guardian: http://goo.gl/EjcfT9 []
  2. Scholars At Risk Academic Freedom Monitor: http://goo.gl/7Szcyr []
  3. Nature magazine news: http://goo.gl/bgBj9L []
  4. The Washington Post News: https://goo.gl/qzsv4p []
  5. Science magazine news: http://goo.gl/Ovol77 []
  6. Amnesty Internationsl declaration: https://goo.gl/JPqBIH []
  7. International Human Right Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies Declaration: http://goo.gl/vVI1aL []
  8. News Today’s Zaman: http://goo.gl/JPezT9 []
  9. Hürriyet Daily News: http://goo.gl/XHxEHI []
  10. Birgün News: http://goo.gl/VNVhx9 []
  11. News: http://goo.gl/qQF9Qn []
  12. Egitim-Sen declaration: http://goo.gl/dVeR6R []
  13. Beyaz Gazete targeting academics: http://goo.gl/1OAbbY []
  14. 50/D: A statement of the Legal Act Number 2547, which regulates the academic positions for research assistants. This is a temporary position and is not guaranteeing a safe work prospect. []
  15. http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/476688/Polisten__koruma_isteyen_akademisyene_yanit__Kafasina_ben_sikarim.html# []
  16. A union of university personnel with rightist tendencies []
  17. JITEM is the acronym for the military organisation (Jandarma İstihbarat ve Terörle Mücadele – « Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Unit ») whose existence was never openly accepted by the Republic of Turkey and was suspected of being responsible of several human violations in Turkey. []
  18. Habertürk News: http://goo.gl/RFz1Gl []
  19. “Publicly humiliating Turkish nation, Republic and Turkish Grand National Assembly, Government of the Turkish Republic and the state’s judicial organs.” []
  20. “Provoking the people for hate and animosity or humiliating the people.” []
  21. “Propaganda for terrorist organization.” []
  22. News: http://goo.gl/Nl4WO0 []
  23. Archive of solidarity: petitions, signatures, declarations: http://internationalsolidarity4academic.tumblr.com/ []
  24. In Turkey the general pattern of the election, selection and appointment of the university presidents is as follows: First the academics with Ph.D.s and with relevant cadres in the universities vote for the candidates for university presidency. The first six nominee is sent to the CoHE. Then the CoHE selects three of the nominees from the list sent by the university concerned, and sends names of the three nominees to the President of the Republic. And the final decision is made by the President. Though the whole process of election by the academic in the related universities is almost symbolic, it still has an effect in the decision process. []

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