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“There is no going back”

The previously suspended peace signatories at Dokuz Eylül University have been dismissed. The faculty members, who consider the expulsion of the former rector along with them to be “tragicomic,” have said, “We are behind our signatures and will certainly return one day.”
Yayınlanma tarihi: 9 Temmuz 2018 Pazartesi, 17:27

[Haber görseli]The liquidation under a decree with the force of law unleashed in the aftermath of the election did not spare the “Academics for Peace.” The peace signatories at Dokuz Eylül University who had previously been suspended were dismissed under the latest decree with the force of law. However, this time former Rector Prof. Dr. Adnan Kasman, who launched the investigation into the academics for peace, was also dismissed along with Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi, Prof. Dr. İzge Günal, Prof. Dr. Ayşen Uysal, Prof. Dr. Yeşim Edis Şahin, Prof. Dr. Halil Resmi, Doç. Dr. Halis Ulaş, Dr. Nuri Erkin Başer and research workers Aydın Arı, Serap Sarıtaş, Emel Yuvayapan, Dilek Karabulut and Özer Yersüven. Nevertheless, the decree with the force of law decision has not deterred the academics from thinking of peace. Stating that they had no intention of taking a step back, Aydın Arı said, “We are behind our signatures. We accept responsibility for the “action” we staged. We will still continue to call for peace. Our call for democracy and justice is added to this. These days will pass. We hope that the country will attain democracy in some way before long. I have no sorrow in personal terms and do not concern myself with these things but I see that what the country needs most is democracy.” Also describing as “tragicomic” the dismissal from the university under the same decree with the force of law of the rector who suspended them, Arı commented, “He is experiencing his own drama. Ours is not a drama but a tragicomedy.”

“We will not give up”

Not all the peace academics are mediagenic. Prof. Dr. Halil Resmi of the Medial Faculty found himself obliged to make a statement to a newspaper for the first time, and that was Cumhuriyet: “I have never spoken about anything to any newspaper until encountering this unlawful situation. We will find a new way in life. Just as Turkey will straighten itself out, we will return to our professions and our students.” Dilek Karabulut was among those to loudly proclaim, “We will not give up.” Karabulut had the following to say: “They have only taken our public posts at university. They cannot deprive us of our power to research, express and write the truth, our consciences and our minds. Lies, duress, evil and war can never resist for long in the face of the truth, freedom and peace. It is enough for us not to give up our joint fight for these and we will not do so.”

State of emergency logic

Many academics of international repute were also dismissed from the university under the decree. Apart from holding many awards in the international arena, Prof. Dr. İzge Günal of Dokuz Eylül University’s Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology is one of the three scientists to pass into medical literature for the Günal-Seber-Başaran syndrome. Günal previously lost his job for siding with university workers at the time of Prof. Dr. Emin Alıcı’s rectorship. He paid a private consultation fee to meet on behalf of the workers with the rector, who had not given an appointment for seventeen days, and was thrown out of the university accused of “belittling the rector.” Having faced the same fate under the most recent decree with the force of law, Günal said, “Since being suspended I have considered myself to have been thrown out, anyway. However, I know very well that this is a political process. I will certainly return one fine day. This will happen in tandem with Turkey changing in a political sense. Even if the state of emergency ends, for as long as its logic continues this means there is a state of emergency. Dictatorship must come to an end to enable us to return. The victims of Law number 1402 thrown out on 12 September returned even if it took time. We will most certainly return.” Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi also numbers among those lost to the academic world. Terzi, who along with his medical title is known for his work in civil society organisations such as the Peoples’ Bridge Association which has until now reached out to more than 100,000 refugees and improved their health, says he has decided not to speak for now apart from joint statements with the colleagues along with whom he was dismissed. Prof. Dr. Ayşen Uysal of the Economics Faculty, who is unable to go and teach at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and is also unable to attend invitations to teach and lecture at various universities in France because restrictions have been imposed on their passports since they were suspended, posted on learning of the decision, “The poor souls who put my name on the expulsion list and those who carried it out are not worth one drop of my mother’s tears.”

Organised evil

Indicating that she regards the issue from the perspective of “evil,” Uysal commented as follows: “We must think how we are going to fight such evil. This is an organised evil. An evil in a very high dosage. We are speaking of an evil that has permeated everyone from those who drew up the list to those pushing behind our backs to get rid of us and starting from the very top, the political rulership, every nook and cranny of society. Those who think, ‘Heavens, let it not affect me’ are also giving support to this evil. We as the peace academics have continued to speak up for two and a half years. We may have become weary in the courts and under investigations, but we have continued to speak up as individuals. Had we mounted our reaction in an organised way, it may not have been like this. With the ‘final prime minister’ saying they would expel thousands of people, there was not a peep from the opposition parties apart from displaying their certificates of election. Just as there has not been over this entire process. I think that a problem as important as this country’s evil is the organised opposition programme. There exists an opposition that is a partner to the ruling party’s crime by failing to raise its voice and organising struggle.”

Expulsion for putting smiles on the faces of refugee children

Peoples’ Bridge Association Chair, peace signatory and doctor Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi was expelled from his post at Dokuz Eylül University under Decree with the Force of Law number 701 promulgated in the Official Gazette yesterday. One of Turkey’s most important surgeons, Terzi served as Administrative Board Member of the Turkish Medical Association in the years 1994-95. Many of Terzi’s scientific works, books and chapters of books have been published in national and international journals. Terzi reached out to more than 100,000 refugees with the Peoples’ Bridge Association that was established five years ago. He worked as a volunteer doctor taking refugees through health scans and providing refugees with food and shelter. In particular, Terzi has held lectures at which the living conditions of Syrian refugees have been set out in quantitative terms. Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi was one of the twelve academics to be suspended from Dokuz Eylül University for signing the peace declaration in June 2017. At an action staged to protest against the rectorate, Terzi had said, “The sole thing that makes us valuable as people is the prices we volunteer to pay for equality, freedom, justice and peace. Let us pay the price. It is enough that mothers do not weep.” Terzi, who has previously spoken to our paper, stressed the need for social adaption policies to be developed for Syrians and said, “It is very important to establish empathy with refugees. We must realise that these people abandoned their motherland, hearths and homes and came here out of necessity. We are speaking of people who for six years have picked tomatoes, worked in mines and laboured all over in workshops, and with whom we have shared the same air, the same water and the same neighbourhoods. We must finally accept them and bring them in our midst.” Terzi has at the same time served as President of the European Society of Surgery.

Yet to be prosecuted

Stating that he has yet to be prosecuted but his defence will be like that of İsmail Beşikçi, Dr. Nuri Erkin Başer recalled the words, “I think like this and this cannot be a crime.” Noting that the decision will be taught as a “bad example” on the political science courses of the future, Başer summed up his expulsion along with former Rector Kasman by saying, “Highly oppressive, totalitarian regimes do not sort everything out with the big stick. They sometimes get those who look like democrats to do their work. As those in power get stronger those truly in charge also eliminate the string pullers.”

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