A Personal Account of Struggle for Democratization and Purge in Turkey

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Although I graduated from one of the top mechanical engineering faculties –Boğaziçi University- in Istanbul I chose to become a social activist and to teach English in working class districts. As I was teaching at state schools, I was also making a great effort to organize informal, precarious workers. I and my comrades established “DayanismaEvleri (Houses of Solidarity)” to create a safe haven and a locus of organization for the precarious workers. In the meantime I got my MA in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics. Although I was a civil servant, because of my political activities I was arrested and tortured many times in the late 90’s. I then became a member of board in Eğitim Sen, I and my friends founded a grassroots network called “Member Initiative” against the dominant political cadres of the union. We struggled against bureaucratization which caused a serious leak to debilitate the organization. After that I started my PhD studies in Political Science in Yildiz Technical University. I am still studying on my thesis which is a comparative work titled “Historical Institutionalism and Regime Change in South East Asia”. I also took responsibility in the election periods as a cadre of HDP. My expectations turned out to be true on June 7h 2015, when the elections resulted in a hopeful opportunity for change towards democracy and abolishing of the AKP-led authoritarianization process.

Things dramatically changed after that. My part in the total cost is losing my job, my students and my faculty. I was dismissed by a government decree without any investigation. Also my dissertation advisor was dismissed, too. I and my family are prevented from leaving the country so I cannot benefit from the PAUSE2 support provided by the Nantes University.

I am proud to be a part of the struggle.