Statement of support for Prof. Ayse Gul Altinay.

2019-05-24

The Centre for Gender Research stands in solidarity with Professor Ayşe Gül Altinay

On May 23 Ayşe Gül Altınay, Sabanci University in Istanbul, was sentenced to 25 months in prison for ”willingly and knowingly supporting a terrorist organisation as a non-member.” This is because she signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” in support of colleagues, democracy and academic freedom.

Ayşe is a cultural anthropologist, Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Centre and an editorial board member of the European Journal of Women’s Studies, together with, among others, Professor Ulrika Dahl at Uppsala University.  Ayse visited the Centre for Gender Research in February of 2019 and participated in the international symposium European Gender research in an age of right-wing populism, growing racism and anti-gender ideologiesorganised with support from Uppsala Forum on democracy, peace and justiceAt the symposium, Ayse’s inspiring presentation focused on the creative pedagogical work done in Gender studies in Turkey. Colleagues and students around Europe know her as an outstanding scholar and teacher, as a brilliant analyst and as an activist who makes a difference.

Presently, in Turkey 700 signatories of the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” have been or are still on trial. They need our support.

As a lifelong feminist and peace activist, Ayşe continues to advocate for non-violent protest and dignity in the face of aggression. Here is an extract from the statement that Ayşe read out at her second hearing held on December 11, 2018:

“I signed the statement "We will not be a party to this crime" because it was a text that invited all to search for peaceful solutions to the problems we were facing, and that reminded the government, which represents me as a citizen, of its responsibility to act under the rule of national and international law.

What we were witnessing in the last days of 2015 pointed to an alarming direction regarding Turkey’s present and future. Indeed, the reports published by national and international human rights organizations in the past three years have confirmed these concerns (see Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2017).

I signed the statement ”We will not be a party to this crime“ with the feelings of responsibility I had as a citizen and an academic who has worked on trauma for many years, for a peaceful future that I believe is a basic need for us all.”

More, see: https://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/208723-statement-of-academic-ayse-gul-altinay

Here is an excerpt from Ayşe Gül Altınay’s Second Statement in Court – May 21, 2019
http://bianet.org/bianet/ifade-ozgurlugu/208687-ayse-gul-altinay-in-esas-hakkinda-mutalaaya-iliskin-beyani

”Every individual, every family living in this geography has suffered from past wars, migrations and experiences of violence. In terms of the cycle of violence that trauma studies alerts us to, we live in a challenging, vulnerable geography.

Yet, what we make of these past experiences of pain is up to us...

Are we going to turn our pain into more violence, hate, pain and injustice, or into steps that multiply life, beauty, love, peace and justice?

This is the main question that shapes my work and my life.

I firmly believe that we all have new steps we can take towards healing the traumas that have been transmitted from one generation to the other, and to break out of the cycles of violence that we are living through.”