Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça are not alone!
Today (16.06.2017), is the 100th day of the hunger strike undertaken by the university professor Nuriye Gülmen’s and primary school teacher Semih Özakça. However, they are still in Sincan prison.
The situation of these two young educators is simple but a describes perfectly the current situation in Turkey. Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça were dismissed by governmental decree without any kind of individualized justification or proof. They are not only dismissed from their jobs, but banned from any kind of public service, which means that they cannot continue their careers or even their daily life without financial support. Over 100.000 public officers are in the same situation, which is equivalent with a kind of “civil death”.
In november 2016, Gülmen and Özakça started a sit-in protesting against a governmental decree in front of the human rights’ monument in the center of Ankara. They were beaten by the police, detained more than 30 times. On the 9th of March 2016 they started a hunger strike.
On the 22nd May, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça were detained from their homes and one day later, a court in Ankara sent them to the prison. They are accused of participating and disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization. The trial will be held on 14th of September, 2017.
In spite of their hunger strike, the court has announced the continuation of their detention. However, different reports as well as their lawyers fear that every day spent in jail, just takes them one step closer to the death.
As European Democratic Lawyers (AED), we would like to underline that Turkey insists on violating fundamental human rights such as the right to life. We are concerned about Nuriye Gülmen’s and Semih Özakça’s lives, but not only about them. Over 100.000 people have been dismissed from their work, thousands of people are in jail and every single day a new suicide is published in the Turkish newspapers. A young academic, Mehmet Fatih Traş, signatory of the Academics for Peace Statement, committed suicide months after his dismission. Unfortunately, reports show that he is not the only example.
As Europan Democratic Lawyers, we would like to remind that, even under the extraordinary measures imposed by the current State of Emergency, the violation of fundamental human rights and especially human dignity cannot be accepted. We call, thus, for the respect of basic human dignity.
Finally, we would like to announce that the European Democratic Lawyers (AED) are also defending of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça. in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg. Because we believe that their future is our future, that they are the voice of all the oppressed people.
19th of June 2017
Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano.
TURKEY : FREEDOM for Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça!
Academic Nuriye Gülmen and primary school teacher Semih Özakça, were remanded in Sincan prison, in Ankara, on 23 May. They are continuing a prolonged hunger strike to protest against the dismissal from their jobs. There are fears for their wellbeing including that they may be forced to end their hunger strike against their will.
Nuriye Gülmen et Semih Özakça sont en grève de la faim depuis 76 jours. Nuriye
et Semih font partie des milliers de fonctionnaires que le pouvoir turc a licenciés ces derniers mois. Par cette action assumée publiquement, ils réclament l’annulation de leur licenciement et de celui de tous leurs collègues.
Etat de guerre contre la population kurde, attaques renouvelées contre la presse encore libre, emprisonnement de journalistes, libertés syndicales bafouées, arrestations de syndicalistes, violences policières contre celles et ceux qui ne se soumettent pas… le régime dictatorial d’Erdogan cumule les atteintes aux libertés et aux droits humains.
“Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça were both terminated from their jobs by emergency decrees following the coup attempt in July 2016. Gülmen and Özakça are two of 4,811 academics and 40,000 teachers who were dismissed by emergency decrees. They have now been on hunger strike for over 80 days and were arrested on 22 May 2017 in dawn raids, with police breaking down their doors. They are in prison in Ankara. Their lives are now in danger due to their desire for justice. They should be released and their jobs should be reinstated. Please support all people advocating freedom of expression and democracy in Turkey.”
Nobel Laureate author J.M. Coetzee has released a message for educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who are on the 83rd day of the hunger strike.
In his message, Coetzee emphasized that Turkey needs to return to the rule of law:
“Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have bravely gone on hunger strike to draw the attention of the world to the desperate situation of intellectuals in the new Turkey. It is to be hoped that governments associated with Turkey in NATO will take note and exert pressure on President Erdogan to return his country to the rule of law.”
Solidarity Message from Dr. Canan Dağdeviren
USB Scuola: solidarietà agli insegnanti turchi
from Amnesty Internationalfrom PEN International
Stop the repression against the Turkish working class Re-Employ of all dismissed for political reason
The USB denounces the Government of Turkey for severe violation and repression of trade union freedom and expresses its solidarity with the working class and people of Turkey in their struggle for labour, social and democratic rights.
The USB express solidarity to the struggle of the public workers, of the teachers, expelled by their own job, only to be oppositors, democratics or trade union militants.
Two of them Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakcal, two teachers are doing the hunger strike,from more then 60 day, with a real risk for their life, .
We support and request the immediate re-employ of all dismissed for political reasons and we ask to Ankara Governement to stop the repression against the working class e the democratic movement.
USB International Department
Fermare la repressione contro la classe lavoratrice turca
Riassunzione di tutti i licenziati per motivi politici
Il USB denuncia il Governo della Turchia per le gravi violazioni e la repressione delle libertà sindacali e esprime la sua solidarietà alla classe operaia e con il popolo turco nella lotta per i diritti del lavoro, sindacali, sociali e democratici.
La USB esprime la solidarietà alla lotta dei lavoratori pubblici, degli insegnanti licenziati solo per essere degli oppositori, dei democratici o dei militanti sindacali.
Due di loro Nuriye Gulmen e Semih Ozakcal, due insegnanti stanno facendo lo sciopero della fame, da più di 60 giorni, con un reale rischio per la loro vita,.
Noi sosteniamo e chiediamo l’immediata reintegrazione di tutti i licenziati per motivi politici e chiediamo al governo di Ankara di porre fine alla repressione contro la classe operaia e il movimento democratico.
USB Dipartimento Internazionale
Updates from Turkey
16.05.2017, by Jean-Claude Croizet in announcement
The Social and Political Psychology Platform of Turkey gives updates about the situation of academics in Turkey and suggests actions that can be taken in solidarity.
It has been a while since we sent the international solidarity call to ISPP and EASP. We appreciate the support of the executive committees of ISPP and EASP as well as the responsiveness of their members to our solidarity call by possible means. Thank you very much for your sensitivity and solidarity for collective action for the situation of academics in Turkey.
Since our call to financially and professionally support academics in Turkey, we have gone through many events and actions in Turkey. With this email, we would like to provide you a short summary of what has been going on, along with reliable news articles for each item on the list:
– April 16th Referendum: Citizens of Turkey were sent to the polls under the State of Emergency for a referendum changing the constitution and increasing presidential powers on April 16, 2017. As a result of a last minute change by Higher Election Council, unsealed votes (approximately 2.5 million votes with a striking majority of “yes” votes) were legalized, allowing the constitutional changes including a political regime change (with 51.3% votes). The State of Emergency have been extended for three more months on April, 19.
– 3 new KHK: In total 484 academics (among them are 66 peace petitioners) have been purged in the most recent State of Emergency decrees (KHK), including Gözde Özdikmenli Demir (head of the Psychology Department at Muğla University). The Table below is a report regarding affected academics (source):
|Removed and banned from public serivce with the decree laws*||364||8||372
|Removed and bannd from public service with the decree laws + dismissal + resignation + retirement||401||51||452|
|Disciplinary investigations. Decision of the investigation Committee: Dismissal from public service. Pending CoHE (YÖK)||107||5||112|
|Suspension from administrative duy||3||4||7|
* Among the Peace Petition signatories, 42 academics, who had been earlier dismissed or forced into resignation, were also removed and banned from public service with the decree laws. In addition, PhD students with the Faculty Training Program suffer from rights violations due to the amendments in the procedures and principles and the decree laws.
** 3 academics had to stay in pre-trial detention for 40 days and 1 for 22 days until they were relased after the first court hearing.
– KHK related suicides: Until 29 April, 37 persons, mostly civil servants but also teachers have committed suicide after being dismissed by KHK. There are also civil servants or teachers who started to work outside their employment area, such as construction work and to our knowledge one teacher died on the work site because of hazardous working conditions.
– KHK hunger strikes: Among the dismissed were Nuriye Gülmen (academic) and Semih Özakça (teacher) who started sit-in strikes. Currently, they are in the 170th day of sit-in strike and 60th day of hunger strike to demand justice and removal of dismissal from authorities. As of May 5, our colleague Esra Mungan (cognitive psychologist at Bogazici University) joined symbolic one-day hunger strike along with other academics to support Gülmen and Özakça.
If you want to support them, you can follow the english website (and here) and send support messages via their contact page. You can also send e-mail/fax to Thorbjørn Jagland (Secretary General) and Nils Muižnieks (firstname.lastname@example.org, Commissioner for Human Rights) from Council of Europe as well as to Kati Piri (email@example.com) from European Parliament.
– France: CNRS executive board suggested warning TUBITAK by freezing ongoing agreements.
– Academics from Dicle University in Diyarbakir were first purged by decree, then taken into custody by police. They have since been released, but the process signals systematic threatening.
–Many academics who have not yet been purged are being oppressed in their current positions for being a Peace Petitioner, for being involved in oppositional political public discourse or for being targeted as a threat to the state without any reliable concrete/legal evidence. They are asked to “sign in” daily as proof that they have come into the office, and they are not provided academic leave to participate in international conferences. Although there are many examples, we hesitate to give a full list given security concerns. However, upon consent, we feel responsible to inform the ISPP conference committee that a PhD researcher and a peace petitioner, has been prevented by her university from attending the upcoming general meeting in Edinburgh, despite having an accepted paper to present. She is also not allowed to take personal leave.
As the news suggest, our oppressive conditions are worsening and our possibilities to continue our academic lives are threatened. We specifically underline their need to stay connected with academia. Therefore, we hope you can continue to actively support academics in Turkey. Here is a reminder and a follow-up of how you can do this:
- Commissioning universities and diplomatic relations to prepare short term work possibilities, research grants or research asylums abroad to help psychologists to continue their academic work.
- Providing small to mid-scale research funds for the psychologists who have been banned from leaving Turkey, to help them to pursue their research in Turkey and sustain their livelihoods and scholarly careers.
- Sharing daily/weekly social media reports on developments related to the state of emergency in Turkey and to the violation of multiple rights.
- Providing honorary memberships or affiliated memberships for psychologists banned from academia to help them preserve their academic titles. (New additional remark: If possible and/or applicable, international pairing partners can take initiative to ask their partner in Turkey whether they would need/want honorary affiliation)
- Holding a round table discussion for future actions of solidarity during ISPP and EASP general meetings.
- Holding round table meetings in future conferences regarding academic freedom
- Project writing schemes in international research institutes and centers for colleagues who are dismissed or under risk
- Skype and recorded video options (and free-registration to conferences) for colleagues who are not allowed to go to international meetings
In hope to stay in International Solidarity!
Social and Political Psychology Platform of Turkey
Dr. Chad Kautzer – Solidarity message for purged hunger strike protesters in Turkey
Carlos Latuff’s drawing
David Harvey’s solidarity message for Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça
From London, thank you for solidarity.