Following the expulsion of academicians who refuse to follow the government lines and want education to be free from government dictates, other dissenting academicians are standing up to protect freedom of speech, thought and education.
Refusing to abide by an undemocratic government decree that expels them from their posts, yesterday the 73 top notch university professors and academicians stood their ground and decided to resist collectively by not vacating their offices but instead have meetings in the campus.
Solidarity from alumni organizations, vocational chambers, unions, intellectuals, ordinary citizens, middle schools and other academicians is pouring.
Tens of thousands of government workers have been expelled from their posts since July 15th after an unsuccessful yet suspicious coup attempt against the government. Most people now believe that the July 15thcoup was an inside job by Erdogan’s followers to give the excuse to Erdogan to entrench his dictatorial rule. Following the July coup attempt most of the fired judiciary, police and other workers are accused of aiding and abating a jihadist cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who enjoys the sanctuary of the USA with a reference letter from the CIA.
However, neither the dissenting academicians, nor many others who are fired have anything to do with the Islamic cleric or the coup. Many find it ridiculous to fire mostly secular or leftist professors by an attempt to tie them to an Islamic coup.
Erdogan needs to fill all government posts with his stooges so his corrupt dictatorship could survive without any threats. It could be demonstrated that all posts filled with Erdogan supporters have become a source of further corruption, abuse and internal enrichment for those who occupy the posts and their friends and relatives. In return Erdogan gets uncritical support from those appointed to government jobs.
Universities have become another arena of corruption for Erdogan’s ruling party AKP. Opening school after school without any staff or faculty to support or teach, and then filling the seats with government friendly, yet, unqualified stooges decreased the level of academics expected of independent universities.
Academicians who refuse to toe the government edicts but defend the freedom of education, thought and speech have been criticizing this partisan education. As Erdogan institutes a more religious middle education, this trend has also entered to universities. Unqualified so-called “professors” publish papers infused with religious “evidences” or outright government support is now common place in higher education. Plagiarized academic papers are rampant and even people who have never been in academics posing as professors have given graduate level lectures for years in these so-called universities under Erdogan.
Dissenting academicians opposed this religious trend and corruption as being dangerous for the necessary free thinking in education.
When Erdogan decided to jump into an adventure by helping the US imperialism in invading Syria and attacking its own Kurdish population in genocidal military actions that killed hundreds of Kurds and levelled most Kurdish cities in the country’s South East, academicians raised their voices and called for peace instead of violence.
This was their mistake in the eye of the Erdogan’s government.
As it becomes more obvious now with evidence showing up, the government requested a list of all academicians who supported the call to peace.
Initially many academicians who signed the non-violence call were expelled without any due process. This led to the second wave of expulsions in early February where the 73 academics were expelled recently.
However, this time around, academics are fighting back.
With many schools and faculty forced to close due to the firings of faculty, and students and population at large supporting the fired professors, teachers refuse to “go gently into that goodnight.”
Academics from other universities who have not sold out to the government yet are also standing behind their colleagues. While the bulk of fired professors are from the University of Ankara, the students at one of the most prestigious schools, University of Bogazici, gathered yesterday to protest the expulsion of their loved professor Murat Sevinç.
Holding a skype meeting/class with his students the fired professor said he and the others will not be deterred and will be coming back. The class where this meeting was held had standing room only space with a huge crowd forced to wait in the corridors of the building to attend.
Sevinç, in his lecture said, “Science has to dissent. You can only do science if you keep your distance to governments.”
After the lecture hundreds of students and faculty met outside the building holding banners, “An attack to the University is an attack on the whole society. We refuse to bow down!” The crowd then staged a march in the Istanbul campus chanting solidarity for the expelled academicians and protesting the government’s dictatorial rule.