Vi har tidligere beskrevet de trængsler, som den tyrkiske liberale professor Atilla Yayla har måttet gennemgå, fordi han i vinter kom til at sige politisk ukorrekte ting om “Kemalismen” og Tyrkiets evne til at tilpasse sig vestlige værdier om frihed, konstitutionalisme og markedsøkonomi. Nu er der lidt nyt i sagen. Her er en artikel fra den amerikanske Chronicle of Higher Education:
Friday, March 16, 2007
Turkish Professor Faces Charges for Cmments About the Nation’s Founder
By AISHA LABI
Turkish professor faces charges for comments about the nation’s founder.
A professor of politics and political theory at Gazi University, in Ankara, Turkey, was charged on Wednesday with insulting the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.
The charge follows comments made by the professor, Atilla Yayla, during a public panel discussion in November in which he referred to Atatürk as “that man.”
If convicted, the professor could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. Yayla said he had spoken at the November gathering, in the coastal city of Izmir, about his view of civilization as a unifying and universal principle, and had questioned official descriptions of modern Turkey’s early, single-party period from 1925 to 1945 as “very progressive.”
He had commented, he said, that according to his research, “the first period is not as progressive as it is claimed to be.”
“‘In what respects?’ I was asked. I said in respect to freedom of opposition, of association, religious freedom, and other freedoms, it was not as progressive as some people have claimed.”
Mr. Yayla courted further controversy with his observation that, especially as Turkey pursues membership in the European Union, the country’s iconographic fixation on Atatürk might seem puzzling. “Europeans will ask us why everywhere there are statues of this man and in every state office we have the same man’s photos,” he told the panel.
A local newspaper billed those comments as traitorous, and the matter gathered steam as national news outlets picked up the story.
Administrators at Gazi University began an investigation of Mr. Yayla, both for the content of his comments in Izmir and for having attended the conference without first seeking permission to travel. “We are required to take permission when we leave Ankara,” Mr. Yayla said, although he explained that such leave is usually sought and granted informally. He did not miss any classes as a result of the weekend trip, he said.
While it investigated, the university temporarily suspended him and cut his salary by one-third.
Aybar Ertepinar, the vice president of the Turkish Council of Higher Education, a government-financed body that oversees the country’s universities, said that while he thought the university’s actions against Mr. Yayla might have been “overdone,” those steps were within the scope of the rector’s authority.
“The rector has the right to suspend a person about whom there is an investigation going on,” Mr. Ertepinar said.
He said he thought Mr. Yayla’s comments had been inappropriate, but added, “I also consider it as his freedom of speech to say what he did.”
As far as the council is concerned, Mr. Ertepinar said, the issue has been resolved. “The university has closed the matter, Professor Yayla is back to his office, teaching and doing research, and academically there is nothing, I believe, following the present situation.”
Mr. Yayla said he still feared that he would lose his job, especially if convicted. He said he has been told his trial is scheduled to begin on April 30.
Turkish prosecutors have pursued similar charges against other writers and academics in recent years and, although those cases have not resulted in prison sentences, they have fueled an atmosphere in which extremist nationalists enjoy disproportionate influence in public discourse.
Ozlem Caglar-Yilmaz is the general coordinator at the Association for Liberal Thinking, a think tank in Ankara that Mr. Yayla helped to found. Ms. Caglar-Yilmaz thinks that Mr. Yayla’s trial could prove an important turning point for Turkey. “There are already many academics who have been severely critical of this era and Atatürk,” she said. If the prosecution fails, she said, popular opinion could follow: “People would feel more free to question this era.”
Jo, jo, Tyrkiet er helt klar til EU …