Tuesday, March 7, 2017

REPORT: Theater Trouble in Turkey

#DoNotTouch: Protest Against Theatre Faculty Expulsions 
As the political situation tightens in Turkey, members of IATC have shared information with us in an attempt to raise awareness of what is happening to the arts and artists in what was once a society that prized democratic discourse.

We received a declaration from the Theatre Department of Ankara University, disseminated February 12, 2017, which has been edited for clarity:

Exported: Prof. Dr. Beliz Güçbilmez
Ankara University, Theatre Department professors Prof. Dr. Selda Berk Öndül, Prof. Dr. Tülin Sağlam, Prof. Dr. Beliz Güçbilmez, Dr. M. Elif Çongur and the research assistants Ceren Özcan and Şamil Yilmaz have been exported from duty by the new Decree-law No 686. With Assoc. Prof. Dr. Süreyya Karacabey, who had been exported before by the Decree-Law No. 679, seven of our colleagues who form the majority of our department have been expelled from work in government offices. As a result, the undergraduate programs of our department have received an irreparable blow, and the post-graduate programs are almost out of the question.
Exported: Prof. Dr. Selda Berk Öndül
Exported: Dr. M. Elif Çongur
The exportation of our professors—who have created invaluable works and made undeniable contributions to the theatre world of Turkey—by the laws that pertain to only those who “are connected with or are members of or partake in terror organizations, groups, organisms or organizations or other structures which are claimed by the National Security Council as threats to our national security” is inexplicable and wrong as far as justice and conscience are concerned.
Exported: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Süreyya Karacabey
Exported: Prof. Dr. Tülin Sağlam
These exportations spreading in the Higher Education System, i.e., in the majority of universities in Turkey via new decree-laws has turned into a clearance or liquidation operation. Governance of universities, which are supposed to be institutions of freedom of thought and expression, by decree-laws can by no means be accepted. It is undoubtedly obvious that this attitude will bear critical outcomes and give an irredeemable harm to our colleagues’ and to our department’s future, as well as to our university, to the academia in general and to our country. We here resolve to blame the Ankara University rectorate and demand that our colleagues be returned to their posts immediately.  
— Members of the Theatre Department, Faculty of Letters, Ankara University
An update has been received from the Theatre Critics Association of Turkey and will follow.

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