[The following petition was announced to the public and the press at a demonstration held on 24 July at the entrance of Ankara University’s Cebeci Campus. Academic personnel who wish to sign the statement should send an e-mail indicating their title, name, and the institution they work for (or are retired from) to DirenAkademikOzgurluk@gmail.com. The statement and the signatures will be communicated to the relevant institutions, as well as the national and international press, by 12 August 2013. The statement has been lightly edited for stylistic purposes. For the original version of this petition, please click here; for the Turkish version, please click here.]
To the Press and the Public:
Assistant Prof. Dr. Timuçin Köprülü is a graduate of Ankara University Law Faculty and an esteemed academic who started his academic career and completed his doctorate at Ankara Law Faculty and has made valuable contributions to this faculty, as well as the academic world.
Timuçin Köprülü attended the graduation ceremony of the Uludağ University Law Faculty, where he is currently employed, wearing a t-shirt bearing the word “Diren” (Resist) and delivered the following speech:
I gave lectures to these students for three years. I was their professor for the courses of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedural Law. I believe I have a right to say a few words. It won’t take long. We go through an era where lies replace the law and the law is a lie. Some say that “the police demonstrated epic heroism.” You cannot call killing people in the demonstrations, making the demonstrators blind, using tear gas on thousands of people, dragging and forcing lawyers out of the courthouses, and arresting the lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association heroism. The real heroes are these graduates. Thank you.
The Uludağ University administration has opened an investigation due to Dr. Köprülü’s speech and the t-shirt he was wearing, which bore the word “Resist.” With this investigation, the Uludağ University administration has launched an attack against freedom of speech and academic freedom, based on the antidemocratic higher education legislation and culture, which is a product of the 1980 military coup and openly hostile to the universities and to science. This attack is directed not only against Dr. Köprülü but also against all scientists, academics, and university personnel, and against free scientific and critical thought. Moreover, a short while before the investigation, Yeni Akit–Habervaktim, a provocative daily and its website, launched a smear campaign against Dr. Köprülü, similar to the one it had launched against Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty and Ankara University Communications Faculty members recently. Yeni Akit has determined the target and the Uludağ University administration took the “necessary” action.
We, the undersigned academics, share and repeat Dr. Köprülü’s speech. We also declare to the public and the relevant authorities that we will expose this unlawful attack with all kinds of methods, including wearing t-shirts and pins that bear the words “#Resist,” “#ResistFreedomOfSpeech,” and “#ResistAcademicFreedom” in class, to the meetings we attend, and during all kinds of academic and administrative tasks we undertake. We condemn and warn the Uludağ University administration.
We also announce to the public that we will stand against and resist the “witch hunt” started after the Gezi Resistance, including all kinds of mobbing, oppression, banishment, investigation, custody, arrest, torture, and unlawfulness, and will take the side of labor and democracy. We announce that we support the Yeditepe University research assistants who were laid off because they took part in the struggle for a democratic university, academic freedom, and the “secure job, secure future” campaign; Marmara University Faculty member Dr. M. Meryem Kurtulmuş, whose tenure was unlawfully extended for only six months and faces the risk of losing her job by September; and all students, academics, and university employees who are subject to oppression and unlawful practices due to their critical ideas, academic work, and political and syndicate related activities in the higher education institutions.
[For more information, to see the full list of signatories, and to sign the petition, please click here.]