As we reported last week, University teachers in Turkey are being victimised for fighting privatisation and promoting their union Egitim Sen.

Teachersolidarity has received the following article detailing the measures taken by university authorities against those who are campaigning against their moves towards privatisation, and for a university for the sake of ‘the human, nature and society.”  The article is pasted below:

An Ordinary Story in Ordu/Turkey

Nuray Sancar

If there is no other expectation from personnel except than giving good performance according to determined criteria, if loyalty to superiors and management is tested permanently through the nightmare of not renewing the contract, if there is a desire to transform universities into subsidiary organisation of monopoly capital, those who say “university can not be like that” will be treated as a spanner which is thrown in the works. Same people will be terrorised in order to threaten followings, especially if they think that organizing is the best power and try to maximize their number in spite of being forced to be alone and to be silent.

Thus for the very reason an investigation was opened to 7 academicians for hanging on their doors a cockade and Egitim-Sen banner (leftist Education Union) entitled “We Want a University for the sake of Human, Nature and Society” at Ordu University. It was written in investigation minute which was prepared hastily that the academicians hang the banners unpermitted but it was not pointed out what was the banners about. The very day assistant professor Deniz Yıldırım who is one of them, learnt that he was inflicted with a disciplinary punishment because of the speech he released about law draft of Council of Higher Education (YOK).
The development at Ordu University can be regarded as an example of what is to be carried out in academy through the draft which opens the door for neoliberal transformation. On the other hand taking into consideration what academicians explained during “Workshop” on 2nd February, gathered upon the convoke of “Academy won’t Stop Speaking Platform”, it seems that what happened to Deniz Yıldırım and his friends is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more greater operation in the depth. Academicians who are not approved by the university managements shaped according to politic authority tendency are exposed to many practices such as not being tenured, discipline threat and firing. But not only opponent academicians are at knife edge, nowadays all universities are adjusted. One of victims were assistants working under 50-D (a kind of special employment type) and who struggled to return to their works for a pretty long time.
But the university is something more than this dark picture itself. Each pressure brings about organizing against it and various resistance types inevitably. METU events and resistance of 50-D assistants brought together many large and small platforms, initiatives and unions founded within the university. Soon after answering the question of “What should be done?” which was also the title of one of the sessions at February the 2nd Conference, expressing the need for coming together, it was announced that University Solidarity Platform (USP) was founded. It is pretty significant development in terms of uniting the fragmental forces. USP was organized out of 31 organization contributions and the number increases each day. Conference organized by METU students on 16th March was also realized out of the students pursuit for organizing as one of university components. University is in motion.

In case academicians who were investigated because of Education Union cockades they hang on their doors, were not organized probably procedure they came across would not be released to the public much. Education Union and USP did not leave their friends alone during this occurence. Because the story in Ordu appeared as an exact example of all happenings the whole universities throughout Turkey. In case the procedure Deniz Yıldırım and his friends encountered is not decoded it will be inevitable to come across similar events in other universities as well. Therefore this “case” is at vital importance.

The politic authority and its extensions are serious. They oppose definitely to “University for the sake of Human, Nature, Society”. When you remove this benefit from the university, nothing will remain as science, education or reason. But they hardly care about all these. On the other hand what they expect from university regarding benefit has nothing to do with university itself.

Translated from Turkish by Aynur Özcan