Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cukurova University Professors Face Harsh Intervention from the Riot Police

According to the daily Radikal, the newly-founded Science and Technology University in Adana claimed the Citrus Gene Garden of the Cukurova University Agriculture Faculty as its campus area and wanted to conduct a ground survey in this area. Professors and academics of the Cukurova University wanted to prevent the survey from being conducted as there are 35.000 citrus trees planted in the field.

The area in question, which is currently in the Cukurova University Campus, is owned by the Ministry of Finance and via a protocol decided by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Development, Ministry of Education, Adana Metropolitan Municipality and Adana Governorship it was given to the Science and Technology University as their campus area. Upon this decision, the secretary general of the Adana Science and Technology University, Osman Arik, accompanied by 100 riot police, brought caterpillars to the area to conduct a ground survey. Upon the news that the caterpillars will drill the Citrus Gene Garden, some 60 academics, among them Cukurova University Rector Prof. Dr. Alper Akinoglu and The President of the Adana Branch of the Chamber of Agriculture Engineers, Sahin Yeter, came to the area and stood in front of the caterpillars to prevent them from entering the garden.

Rector Alper Akinoglu expressed his frustration: "This area belongs to Cukurova University. We have already appealed to the court opposing the decision giving this area to Science and Technology University. All the drilling and ground survey activities need to take place only after our appeal is finalized and a final decision is given by the court. They came here with the riot police to take our university's land. There is no legal ground with which the riot police could justify their participation in this event. They need to leave now"

The President of the Adana Branch of the Chamber of Agriculture Engineers, Sahin Yeter seconded Alper Akinoglu's views and added: "We all have been trained in this area, we have been conducting scientific research in this area for years. Our students still conduct research here. Once these trees are cut there's no going back from this mistake. Moreover, Cukurova University also shares the ownership of this area. No one can enter this are without Mr. Akinoglu's permission"

After the debate, the riot police forcefully removed the academics from in front of the caterpillars. There happened some skirmishes between the professors, the students and the police. Caterpillars entered the garden protected by a police circle. Meanwhile, two students climbed the windmill in the field to protest the caterpillars.

To read the full report in Turkish please visit Radikal