Monday, April 3, 2017

An Important Solidarity Call from Indefinite Hunger Strike Protester Academic Nuriye Gülmen - Turkey - 22.03.2017---And we add some needed context from Uraz Aydin and others---Please help!

Nuriye Gulmen is still on hunger strike. Please be in solidarity by contacting Turkish embassies near you and raising awareness with educational workers and academics. A simple message is the best: rehire Nuriye Gulmen and end political repression in Turkey!

Please read the following if you need background and context:

While the Turkish government has been conducting a crackdown on academics critical of its policies for years, it has taken on greater intensity since the July 15 coup attempt. Thanks to broad powers granted to the government under the continuing state of emergency, the total number of academics discharged by statutory decrees has reached 4,811. The ongoing purge of left-wing academics and “Academics for Peace” petition signatories in Turkey has been described by many pundits as political cleansing.

The consequences of the decrees are alarming. Some departments have been left with almost no professors, and dozens of undergraduate and postgraduate classes have been suspended, leaving hundreds of postgrad thesis studies without a supervisor. The highest number of expulsions belongs to Ankara University and Marmara University: with untold impact on the education and intellectual production of these universities.

On February 10, the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) organized protests across Turkey’s biggest cities against the purge of academics and teachers. Academics and students took to the streets. More than ten academics were taken into custody in Ankara, one was attacked by a police officer, and another suffered a broken leg due to police brutality.

Read the entire article here.

And for additional context see "The freedom to say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin" here. Uraz Aydin says the following in that interview:

In my university, it was primarily petition signatories, but taken as a whole, the biggest part of dismissed Turkish academics are suspected members of the Gülen movement (or FETO, Gülenist Terror Organization, as the regime likes to call them). We’ll never know for sure who is and who is not. I cannot speak particularly knowledgeably about them. Until the two fell out in 2013, AKP had promoted many Gülenist cadres in the academy as a counterpoint to secularists.

But specifically, the campaign against the petition signatories had three distinct functions. The first was to expel leftist militants (trade-union related or not) who had been visible in various social justice struggles at their universities. People who were on the first line of resistance. The message was also to the second line: if you are like them, you, too, will end up like this.
Another target was specifically the word “peace.” The regime wants to say to us: be careful. Never let anyone put your name and the word “peace” on the same page. This was the punishment for the West (Istanbul, and the big cities in Western Turkey) expressing solidarity with the (Kurdish) Southeast. You are in the West—so shut the fuck up—and don’t talk about what we are doing in the Southeast.

The third function has a more historical importance. In Turkey, and elsewhere as well, but in Turkey specifically, leftist ideas never achieved social hegemony, but in the sphere of cultural production, they have been hegemonic. Internationally, in the world of Turkish poetry, who do you know—Nazim Hikmet, of course; in prose—Yasar Kemal; in film—Yilmaz Guney. In cinema, poetry, social sciences, universities, the producers of qualitatively valued products are inspired by leftist ideas, which came in a certain way from Marxism, of course. So the expulsion of academics is part of the regime’s attempt to break the left’s cultural hegemony and make the conservative-nationalist perspective hegemonic. Just last week, the government created the National Culture Council. They have—the AKP has—the social base. They are consolidating it, but they need the cultural means of production. Ideology is always an abstract thing, but it is produced and reproduced in concrete, and distributed in concrete, material ways. Until recently, they lacked media. They have the media pretty much under control now. So they need cinema, they need universities, they need TV series. Cinema may be more difficult. Universities, where we are working, are a part of this terrain of cultural production that AKP wants to conquer to achieve hegemony.

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