The grounds for my suing of the Cumhur-president — Prof. Dr. H. Neşe Özgen

22 April 2016.

I sued Erdoğan for compensation due to his insults directed at the academics and researchers who signed the Academics’ Declaration and all of their supporters, which I find it shameful to repeat here.

This declaration that I have signed by observing with great sadness the results of pushing our country into war that darkens Turkey’s future, is a significant call that aims to terminate this proceeding, and it bears academic responsibility.

In the days that followed the issued declaration, once again by the loss of tens of people, we re-cognized the pain of failing to fulfill the declaration’s warning.

And concerning Erdoğan’s interpretation of the declaration:

Cumhur-president Erdoğan’s insults and accusations directed at the signatories of the declaration, his groundless humiliations that target the signatories unfortunately and immediately found their addressee, in such a way that a mafia leader convicted of commanding organized crime, encouraged by these insults was able to publicly announce that “he will shower in our blood, he will spill our blood in streams;” names of the academics were published at several spots including announcement newspapers [ilan gazeteleri] that subsist by their income from Press Announcement Establishment [Basın İlan Kurumu]; the academics’ photographs and addresses were openly exposed to provoke Lynch gangs in various cities; our human rights were evidently injured, our right to think, to express and to live were obviously put under threat.

Not only those who have signed the declaration, but all of those people, institutions, foundations and platforms, which number in tens of thousands, who have supported this declaration in their mind and in their words, were confronted with Cumhur-president’s insults that are not appropriate to his position; moreover, an impression occurred to some focuses of crime and to some circles of self-interest that they would be able to freely insult academics’ academic and human honour, to freely insult their qualities and their professions, even that they were being protected by the position of the Cumhur-president in such pursuits.

The insults and humiliations that Erdoğan explicitly and repeatedly uttered in a variety of media broadcasts and publications are expressions that I can never accept personally and academically, they are expressions I cannot deem suitable to a single one of human beings:
“Scum”, “brutal”, “utterly dark”, “ignorant”, “disgusting”, “traitor to the country”, “lumpen”, “tongs to the terror organization”, “immoral”, “mandate defending leftover”, “polluted spirit”: I will also not accept to hear clauses like these, expressions that violate my personal rights and that humiliate my academic identity like these from the mouth of a Cumhur-president who is now carrying out the duty of being the Cumhur-president of the Turkish Republic on behalf of myself.

As a scientist who has done respectable and pioneering academic studies in the country and abroad;
who has repeatedly proved herself academically in the field of science;
who has done the duties of being a dean and being a head of department, who has performed various pioneering studies in the field of social sciences, who has trained tens of students and who has taken important steps in a career to train young scientists;
who has personally performed research in the country and abroad, who has been a teaching member [öğretim üyesi] in distinguished national and international research establishments,
who has worked in TÜBİTAK, TÜBA and GAP-BKİ for years,
who has even represented her country on behalf of TÜBİTAK for years in COST (European Council of Science and Technology),
moreover as one of rare social scientists that are currently in the Select Committee of COST Projects of Turkey;
moreover as being among the specialists to whom Turkey entrusted the question of borders, in the Interior Ministry Project (2010) carried out as a member of the IBM (Integrated Border Management) project of EU,
as a scientist who has been carrying out doctoral lectures and researches following her retirement in two distinguished universities of Turkey, MSGSÜ and Galatasaray University,
I consider these words directed at my person and my academic honour as improper, unacceptable and inappropriate to his position.

Our declaration reminds a reality and calls the state to its duty: Its content is not political, it is rather an ethical call: It is an unacceptable circumstance that a declaration, a peace call that reminds the government and the state their responsibility in establishing a climate of democracy would be targeted by the Cumhur-president himself by a variety of insults.

But unfortunately, following these insults and explicit humiliations, a sequence of unmentionable and very serious attacks that are inconceivable in a modern legal state were launched, directed at ourselves who were made into targets by Erdoğan; teaching employees, researchers were made unable to breathe in their own cities after the verbal command given to the Supreme Court, they were oppressed by inconceivable illegalities fabricated by management positions of universities that undertake this command, job contracts of teaching members were terminated, gangs of murderers took to the streets and TVs to hunt people. Also, four of our friends among us were arrested and were sent to prison in a manner that ultimately leaves unexplainable by the prosecution why and how they are being accused. All of them are qualified and respectable scientists and the clause ‘suspicion for desertion’ that is imputed on them is absolutely illegal and cannot even be taken as a matter of joke, let alone justice.

Like many others, I have also been threatened by some private/public social accounts that were encouraged by these insults, they targeted me by displaying my address. I was subject to slander. Due to Erdoğan’s announcements, my honour and even my life security have been threatened.

It is an unacceptable circumstance that the Cumhur-president is independent of the words he uttered by disregarding the obligations of the position that he is occupying, that he is independent of the Lynch culture that formed after these words. The laws of Turkish Republic are to be executed for himself just like they are to be executed for everyone, and they must be executed too.

As a scientist and a researcher I have always been on the side of people’s free expression of their own visions for equality and freedom. And in order that this freedom wouldn’t be injured by any position of power, I have been a defender of academia and science. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, by making use of the obligations of a position that he is temporarily occupying according to his own personal hatred and sensuality, has unfortunately led to a process that affected Turkey, a process that even resulted in attacks to our-my rights to life, and he has been the pretext for this course of insults.

Let alone directing insults to a distinguished and respectable scientist, let alone insulting to her academy and her honour; it is not among Erdoğan’s duties as the Cumhur-president to utter these words to any of the citizens of the Turkish Republic, it is not among his duties to humiliate people. Neither is it among the duties of a Cumhur-president to direct accusations to restrict and destroy the freedom of expression of its citizens, nor is it among his duties to give verbal commands to judicial courts.

Our constitution and the proper laws do not give chair immunity to the Cumhur-president. On the contrary, the status of a Cumhur-president is charged with responsibility.

That he cannot be criminally sued other than “betrayal to the country”; does not mean that he cannot be sued for compensation due to his insults and his targetings. I am bringing my action directed at himself due to these insults and words of his.

English: Işık Barış Fidaner

Translator’s notes:
— “Cumhurbaşkanı” is translated as “Cumhur-president” to distinguish it from the title “Başkan: President” which refers to the ~Presidency System~ that the Cumhur-president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan desires to implement in Turkey in vain for many years now.
— This is version 1.1 and can be subject to change.

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