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The stu­dents and teach­ing staff at Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty denounce the sig­na­tures “by night” (a ref­er­ence to the nom­i­na­tion of the new pres­i­dent of their uni­ver­si­ty in the night of Jan­u­ary 1st 2021), announc­ing the cre­ation of two new fac­ul­ties, of law and of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, at Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty itself and of 16 fac­ul­ties in 13 oth­er uni­ver­si­ties in the country.

An “open let­ter to the 12th pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic” start­ed cir­cu­lat­ing last Sat­ur­day in sev­er­al lan­guages. Here is the Eng­lish translation.

Open letter to the 12th President of Turkey

Pre­vi­ous­ly, we respond­ed to Melih Bulu1with the poem ‘Satir­i­cal Attempts on a Provo­ca­teur.’ It is pleas­ing to see that you have acknowl­edged your­self to be the per­son respon­si­ble, and respond­ed accordingly.

Up until today, you have demand­ed secret meet­ings with us via the Turkey Youth and Edu­ca­tion Ser­vice Foun­da­tion (TÜRGEV). Now, you are try­ing to start an argu­ment against us through the media. We do not like go-betweens, we pre­fer speak­ing out­right and explic­it­ly to all. We hope that you will pro­ceed accordingly.

First, let us remind you of our demands and of the rea­sons under­ly­ing our protests:

You appoint­ed a trustee rec­tor to our uni­ver­si­ty with utter dis­re­gard for the stu­dents and fac­ul­ty. Is what you did legal? Yes, as you like to men­tion every chance you get, but it is not legit­i­mate. This appoint­ment makes any­one who has even the tini­est sense of jus­tice revolt with indignation.

To top it off, you open fac­ul­ties and appoint deans with an overnight pres­i­den­tial order on a Fri­day night, in order to intim­i­date the whole insti­tu­tion with all its stu­dents, teach­ers and labor­ers. Your attempts to pack our uni­ver­si­ty with your own polit­i­cal mil­i­tants is the symp­tom of the polit­i­cal cri­sis that you have fall­en into.

Vic­tims of your cri­sis grow in num­ber with every pass­ing day!

We use our con­sti­tu­tion­al rights to make peo­ple from all seg­ments of soci­ety aware of the injus­tices we are sub­ject­ed to. These are our demands:

All our friends who have been arrest­ed or detained in this peri­od must be released immediately!

All cam­paigns to defame and dis­en­fran­chise LGBTI+s and all oth­er tar­get­ed groups must end!

All gov­ern­ment-appoint­ed trustees, start­ing with Melih Bulu, who insti­gat­ed all these arrests, deten­tions, scape­goat­ing cam­paigns, and threats, must resign!

In uni­ver­si­ties, demo­c­ra­t­ic rec­torate elec­tions must be held with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all con­stituents of the university!

You uttered a sen­tence start­ing with ‘If they have the guts…’ in your state­ment. Is it a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to call for the res­ig­na­tion of the pres­i­dent? YES! Since when is the use of a con­sti­tu­tion­al right a mat­ter of courage?

Do not mis­take us for those who obey you uncon­di­tion­al­ly. You are not a sul­tan, and we are not your subjects.

But since you men­tioned courage, we shall also respond to that briefly.

We have no immu­ni­ties! You, how­ev­er, are the one who has been storm­ing around, hid­ing behind your legal and polit­i­cal immu­ni­ty for the last 19 years.

The Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is spread­ing lies to play on reli­gious sen­si­tiv­i­ties. We say that we will not prac­tice self-censorship.

You call LGBTI+s deviants, we state that LGBTI+ rights are human rights.

Mem­bers of your par­ty kicked min­ers in Soma. We active­ly stood in sol­i­dar­i­ty with the mine work­ers, and we will con­tin­ue to do so.

You unlaw­ful­ly keep the Co-Chairs of the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) [Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş & Figen Yük­sek­dağ] impris­oned, along­side jour­nal­ists and union mem­bers. We declare that we stand unit­ed with those who fear­less­ly speak the truth, and we are against all gov­ern­ment-appoint­ed trustees.

You make crowds boo Berkin Elvan’s moth­er in ral­lies. We declare that we stand with Berkin Elvan2.

You tar­get and attack Ayşe Buğra, with­out even men­tion­ing her name, say­ing ‘Osman Kavala’s wife is among these provo­ca­teurs’. “In a vul­gar man­ner, you restate the sex­ist fal­la­cy that the only sig­nif­i­cant fea­ture of a woman is her hus­band. We state that ‘Ayşe Buğra is a dig­ni­fied pro­fes­sor and an esteemed aca­d­e­m­ic’. We say that ‘We will take any charge against her as a charge against us’.

We know very well that you will file dozens of law­suits against this let­ter on the grounds that it prais­es crime and crim­i­nals or insult­ing the pres­i­dent, but we also know that we will nev­er give up on speak­ing the truth!

Since you lack the pow­er nec­es­sary to keep the trustee-rec­tor you have appoint­ed in the office, you resort to pet­ty tricks like open­ing new fac­ul­ties and appoint­ing sham per­son­nel, which does not appear to be an act of courage.

That is why we dis­re­gard your words about courage.

We are aware that Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty is not Turkey’s most sig­nif­i­cant insti­tu­tion, nor is the appoint­ment of Melih Bulu Turkey’s most sig­nif­i­cant problem.

Regard­ing the demand for your res­ig­na­tion, we would not con­sid­er call­ing for your res­ig­na­tion based on this issue.


If you were ever going to resign,

You would have resigned when Hrant Dink was slaughtered!

You would have resigned when 34 Kurds were killed in the Robos­ki massacre. 

You would have resigned when 301 min­ers were mur­dered in Soma! 

You would have resigned after the Çor­lu train derailment!

You would have resigned in the face of the liveli­hood prob­lems of thou­sands of cit­i­zens, who were left unem­ployed or could not find a job, and espe­cial­ly in face of the decree-law (KHK) purgees!

You would have assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for the eco­nom­ic poli­cies which con­demned the peo­ple to pover­ty, instead of sac­ri­fic­ing your son-in-law3

The exam­ples are plen­ty, but you have nev­er resigned.

You pre­ferred to present your­self as naive­ly deceived, instead of, in your own words, ‘hav­ing the guts’.

So now why would we call on you to resign?

As long as Melih Bulu sits on that seat, we will con­tin­ue our protest by strength­en­ing our strug­gle, with all those who join the resistance.

Whether or not you do what must be done is your own business.

We stand with those who are robbed of their demo­c­ra­t­ic rights and freedoms.

With hopes that you real­ize that you can­not silence the oppressed of these lands by shout­ing and threat­en­ing from are­nas and podiums.

Boğaz­içi — Open let­ter — Sat­ur­day 6 Feb­ru­ary 2021

Sup­port for the ones resist­ing at Boğaz­içi keeps on increas­ing: stu­dents and teach­ing staff in oth­er uni­ver­si­ties in Turkey, but also in oth­er coun­tries, civil­ian orga­ni­za­tions, cor­po­ra­tive groups, male and female politicians…

On Feb­ru­ary 8th, a sec­ond mes­sage of sup­port was shared.

This Sol­i­dar­i­ty for Boğaz­içi is signed by 147 writ­ers among them those you often come across on Kedis­tan ; Aslı Erdoğan, Murathan Mungan, Murat Özyaşar, Nur­can BaysalVec­di Erbay

We will not look down

We are watch­ing with regret the unlaw­ful­ness and pres­sures faced by stu­dents, fac­ul­ty mem­bers and uni­ver­si­ty staff who exer­cise their con­sti­tu­tion­al demo­c­ra­t­ic right of appeal against the trustee appoint­ed to Boğaz­içi University.

The “look down” order giv­en by the police to stu­dents who exer­cise their demo­c­ra­t­ic rights clear­ly reveals how the gov­ern­ment, which does not allow the nation to have its own will, want to rule the coun­try and what it under­stands from citizenship.

Hate speech used by the high­est pub­lic author­i­ties, the labelling of stu­dents as ter­ror­ists, unlaw­ful deten­tions and police vio­lence are new evi­dence that our coun­try has long moved away from being a con­sti­tu­tion­al state of law.

We see that those who have resist­ed for days take the bur­den of dead words, revive lan­guage, erase the rust of dom­i­na­tion, and open roads full of pos­si­bil­i­ties in front of the coun­try. As lit­er­ary fig­ures, we join this moment with enthusiasm.

We stand by the resis­tance at Boğaz­içi University.

We will not bow to per­se­cu­tion and oppres­sion. We will not look down.

Signatories - A. Ömer Türkeş, Abdullah Yılmaz, Adnan Gerger, Ahmet Telli, Ahmet Tulgar, Ahmet Ümit, Akif Kurtuluş, Alper Akçam, Alper Beşe, Altay Öktem, Anıl Mert Özsoy, Aslı Erdoğan, Aslı Ilgın Kopuz, Ataol Behramoğlu, Atilla Dorsay, Attila Aşut, Aydın Şimşek, Ayfer Tunç, Ayhan Geçgin, Ayşe Sarısayın, Ayşegül Devecioğlu, Ayşen Işık, Barbaros Altuğ, Barış Bıçakçı, Belma Fırat, Betül Dündar, Burak Acar, Burhan Sönmez, C. Hakkı Zariç, Can Dündar, Celal Çimen, Cem Erdeveciler, Ceren Cevahir Gündoğan, Ceren Olpak, Çetin Yiğenoğlu, Çiler İlhan, Cuma Boynukara, Cüneyt Ayral, Deniz Durukan, Doğuş Sarpkaya, Ece Temelkuran, Elçin Poyrazlar, Elif Durdu, Elif Şafak, Emel İrten, Emel Kayalı, Emirali Yağan, Erdoğan Kahyaoğlu, Eren Aysan, Erendiz Atasü, Eylem Ata Güleç, Fadıl Öztürk, Ferhan Şensoy, Gaye Boralıoğlu, Gökçer Tahincioğlu, Gonca Özmen, Gülce Başer, Gün Zileli, Güray Öz, Hakan Bıçakcı, Hasan Özkılıç, Hasan Öztoprak, Hatice Meryem, Haydar Ergülen, Hayri K. Yetik, Hicri İzgören, Hidayet Karakuş, Hülya Deniz Ünal, Hüseyin Bul, Hüseyin Şahin, İbrahim Baştuğ, İhsan Oktay Anar, İlhami Algör, İnci Asena, Irmak Zileli, İsa İnan, Jaklin Çelik, Kemal Gökhan Gürses, M. Mahzun Doğan, Mahir Ünsal Eriş, Mahmut Temizyürek, Mehmet Yaşın , Mehtap Ceyran, Mesut Kimsesiz, Mesut Varlık, Metin Cengiz, Müge İplikçi, Mukaddes Erdoğdu, Murat Özyaşar, Murat Uyurkulak, Murathan Mungan, Mustafa Köz, Namık Kuyumcu, Nazmi Bayrı, Necmiye Alpay, Nermin Yıldırım, Neşe Yaşın, Nesimi Aday, Nevzat Çelik, Niyazi Zorlu, Nurcan Baysal, Nurdan Arca, Olcay Özmen, Onur Orhan, Orhan Alkaya, Orhan Pamuk, Oya Baydar, Oylum Yılmaz, Ömer Faruk Ciravoğlu, Önder Kızılkaya, Öner Yağcı, Özge Doğar, Özlem Doğan Kasırga, Pınar Öğünç, Rahmi Emeç, Sedat Yurttaş, Sema Aslan, Sema Kaygusuz, Semih Çelenk, Semih Gümüş, Semrin Şahin, Seray Şahiner, Sevim Korkmaz Dinç, Sezen Ünlüönen, Sezgin Kaymaz, Sibel Oral, Şaban Ol, Şebnem İşigüzel, Taçlı Yazıcıoğlu, Tarık Günersel, Tuğrul Keskin, Tülin Dursun, Turan Parlak, Turgay Fişekçi, Ümit Kıvanç, Ünal Ersözlü, Vecdi Erbay, Yaprak Zihnioğlu, Yaşar Seyman, Yekta Kopan, Yeşim Dinçer, Yiğit Bener, Yücelay Sal, Zeynep Altıok, Zeynep Oral, Zülfü Livaneli.

As for Melih Bulu, the rec­tor who had strings pulled for him at Boğaz­içi, sup­port for him arrived no lat­er than on Feb­ru­ary 7th from Alaat­tin Çakıcı, a leader of a orga­nized crime group, recent­ly lib­er­at­ed, in a let­ter of sup­port pub­lished on his Twit­ter account. He prays Bulu to keep his post: “Please, don’t quit what­ev­er you do…” . Noth­ing sur­pris­ing about this, in a Turkey in which can be observed a car­tel phe­nom­e­non (oli­gop­ol) of hege­mon­ic dimen­sions, as explained by Hamit Bozarslan in a recent inter­view.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.