Kurdish academic detained, suspended from university over 'Kurdistan' social media post

A Kurdish academic who wrote “Long live Kurdistan” in a social media post has been detained on terrorism charges. The rector's office of Fırat University also announced that it had suspended Hifzullah Kutum from his position amid an ongoing disciplinary investigation. Meanwhile, a Turkish flag was hung at the academic's office door at the university.

A Turkish flag was hung at the academic's office door at the university.

Ardıl Batmaz / DUVAR

Turkish police on Nov. 5 detained a Kurdish academic in the eastern province of Elazığ after he shared a post on social media that read “Long live Kurdistan” and a picture of former Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani. 

The move against Hifzullah Kutum came amid an ongoing disciplinary investigation against the academic by Fırat University. 

The rector's office of the university on Nov. 5 said that it had suspended Kutum from his position on “terrorism” charges.

“Also, a criminal complaint has been filed against the individual in question with the judicial authorities,” the rector's office said.

In the morning hours, Kutum wrote on his social media that people he had not seen before were “waiting at his door” at the university.

“I am detecting a threatening situation. If a threat of violence occurs against me, I will use my self-defense right to the end,” Kutum wrote on Twitter.

Shortly after this statement, he also shared a copy of the university's decision to suspend him from his post.

Meanwhile, an official of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shared a photo showing a Turkish flag hanging on the office door of Kutum. “Do not be scared! Here is Turkish Republic. Everyone is at the place they deserve,” wrote MHP Elazığ provincial chair Semih Işıkever's executive assistant Ayşegül Karaçoğlu on Twitter.

It was not clear who hung the flag on Kutum's office door.

Meanwhile, just before being detained, Kutum told Gazete Duvar that he had been receiving death threats over his social media post.

“If you look at the comments below my social posts, you see statements of death threats, such images, insults and remarks that do not befit human dignity. I am also receiving such messages privately [not seen in the comments section]...The police came. I think they will detain me,” Kutum said.