Thursday, June 20, 2013

Letter of Complaint Regarding Hate Speech and Racist Behavior by Ahmet Atan, Yildiz Technical University, Chair of the Arts Department*

Dear Madam/Sir, 

We are writing to report the unacceptable racist behavior shown by Ahmet Atan,** who, according to his own website, is the president of the Turkey chapter of the World’s Academy of Arts “New Era.”  We are a group of academics and scientists in the United States who research, work, and critically engage with issues regarding  freedom of academic and journalistic research in Turkey and the liberties of association and publishing thereof. 

On June 16, 2013, Mr. Atan sent three tweets via his twitter account, of which a screen capture has been taken.
In the third tweet, which he proceeded to delete later on, he states: 

"If you are Jewish, Armenian or Greek, I would understand your active participation in the Gezi Park protests. Please research your racial genealogy."

According to another website,, it appears that, besides representing your academy in Turkey, Mr. Atan was also awarded the "Artist of the Year 2013" by your institution.

Please pursue this case as you see fit. We also kindly request that you keep us informed of your actions regarding the racist comments of your member and conferee. We are hoping that the World’s Academy of Arts “New Era,” in accordance with its Statute of Titles 4.3, in case "an Academy’s conferee commits an act (or shows inaction) that discredits the Academy’s reputation," will denounce this kind of behavior, and make a public declaration of Mr. Atan’s exclusion from membership.

We are looking forward to hearing from you on this matter by July 01, 2013. In case the deadline passes with no veritable action on your part, we feel that it is our responsibility to inform the Jewish, Armenian and Greek communities in Turkey and other Art Academies globally about Mr. Atan's unacceptable behavior and your condoning inaction hereto.

Thank you in advance for your inquiries in this matter. Kind regards,

GIT- North America, 
Transnational Work Group on Academic Liberty and Freedom of Research in Turkey

*GIT-NA would like to thank friends who have brought this matter into our attention. We have sent an electronic mail with the above content to the World’s Academy of Arts “New Era," and we urge our readers to follow suit. They can be reached at
**There is also an important petition calling for Ahmet Atan's disposition from the faculty.