Sunday, February 19, 2012

GIT TURKIYE Press Conference: The Council of Higher Education (YOK) acts like National Security Council of Universities

GIT Turkiye, after its very recently establishment, held a press meeting on 16th of February in Istanbul. GIT Turkiye is established by more than 400 academics in 50 Universities. In the press meeting International Work Group for Research and Academic Freedoms (GIT) announced that they start a collaborative afford to support intellectuals, students and academics in their struggle against censorship, intimidations and oppressions.

Istanbul - BİA Haber Merkezi

In the press release the academics declared that GIT Turkiye will become a venue to ensure freedom of research and knowledge dissemination.

In their declaration to the press, Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Gambetti from Bogazici University stated that the recent arrest of Professor Busra Ersanlı in “KCK operations” and the overall worsening conditions of liberties in Turkey channeled academics to establish a united front against oppression and injustices. The Ersanlı’s arrest, just another renowned act of state’s violence has become the last straw to bring academics together.

“The repressions and intimidations started to pose an existential threat for academics, particularly upon those who specifically focus on taboo issues in Turkey. The critical minds in academia are incessantly suppressed by techniques like interventions on the research areas, administrative inquisitions, cadre limitations and arbitrary displacements. Without doubt these repressions are not only affecting Universities, they also influence entirety of the society.”

It is declared that GIT Turkiye will monitor all the repressive activities and intimidations in academia, and it will struggle with all the interventions and oppressions regardless of where they come from. Academics said “We are eager in establishing this front, we will safeguard liberties together to ensure free production and dissemination of knowledge.”

“Academia need to take action”

Prof. Dr. Fusun Ustel, from Galatasaray University introduced ‘Lima Decleration on Academic Freedom and Autonomy of Institutions of Higher Education’ to define academic freedom. She stressed that academic freedoms involve full independence of students and academics in all phases of academic research.

Prof. Dr. Ayse Durakbasa, from Marmara University mentioned that their coming together is an impulse against increasing state repressions and she added that she does not approve of the recent policies to re-structure the higher education in Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Ahmet Insel from Galatasaray University, said “the repression against universities were more severe during 1980s and 1990s, however, the crucial question we need to ask today is that why does the same repressive regime still continue today?” Insel said “the universities has become the sites of authoritarian mentality, the Council of Higher Education (YOK) acts like National Security Council of Universities, nothing has changed in YOK, it remain the same authoritarian institution”.

In the meeting academics gave examples and shared their experiences about oppressive actions in universities, especially the ones related with disciplinary inquisitions. They also declared that GIT Turkey will establish a databank; they will collect and publicize the wrong doings in universities.

For more detailed information about GIT Turkiye please click here.

To read the original in Turkish in Bianet click here