The rectorate of Boğaziçi University (BOUN) on July 16 terminated the employment of academic Can Candan for the third time despite two court rulings in favor of his reinstatement. The rector was appointed by the president and deemed as an illegitimate "trustee" by the university's constituents.
Rector Naci İnci on July 6, 2021 dismissed documentary filmmaker Can Candan from his academic position as lecturer at the Film Studies Program of the Department of Western Languages and Literatures for the first time.
Candan filed a lawsuit against the rectorate’s decision, and a Turkish court in February 2022 gave a stay of execution decision and reinstate Candan. The court in July 2022 annulled the rectorate’s decision and awarded compensation to Candan.
However, his faculty’s dean in August 2022 did not approve the courses Candan wanted to offer in the fall semester, and the rectorate again terminated his position. At the same time, the Rectorate had asked Candan to vacate his office, which he had been using for 15 years, within a few hours.
Bügün @UniBogazici 13:30’da bana tebliğ edilen genel sekreter Hasan Fehmi Topal imzalı yazı ile kitap ve filmlerle tıka basa dolu 15 yıllık ofisimin mesai saati sonuna kadar boşaltılması isteniyor! Bana verilen süre 3,5 saat!!! https://t.co/SU4SKwXAPS— Can Candan (@yunusunbabasi) August 15, 2022
Candan took the decision to the court and the court in May 2023 reinstated Candan once again. Nonetheless, he announced that he was again dismissed by the rectorate in July 2023 and added, "As the struggle for institutional autonomy, academic freedoms and democratic values continues for more than 30 months at 160 year-old Boğaziçi University, I will do everything in my power to fight for my rights in the courts!"
As the struggle for institutional autonomy, academic freedoms and democratic values continues for more than 30 months at 160 year-old Boğaziçi University, I will do everything in my power to fight for my rights in the courts! #WeDoNotAcceptWeDoNotGiveUp ✌🏽 pic.twitter.com/6TFzGCSrh7— Can Candan (@yunusunbabasi) July 18, 2023
After the appointment of a pro-government rector to the BOUN in 2021, the students, alumni, and academics launched a long-lasting protest against the government’s attacks on academic freedoms and university autonomy. The government’s response to the protests was extremely heavy and resulted in severe police attacks against the students both inside and outside the university, hundreds of detentions, and arrests.
The university academics also started their daily vigils in front of the rectorate building around the same time. Candan was one of the prominent figures for the documentation and circulation of the academics’ protests and began to be targeted by the university administration. Candan was also advisor of the Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ Studies Club which was closed down by the government in 2021.
18 Temmuz 2023 Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Akademisyenleri Nöbeti no. 626. Direnişin 133. haftası/926. günü◾️July 18, 2023 Bogazici University Faculty Vigil #626/133rd week/926th day of the resistance @UniBogazici #KabulEtmiyoruzVazgeçmiyoruz @unibogazici_en #WeDoNotAcceptWeDoNotGiveUp pic.twitter.com/HogHcpbGCH— Can Candan (@yunusunbabasi) July 18, 2023
Academics who participated in the protests faced punishments such as dismissals and investigations as well. The rectorate recently has banned at least 10 retired academics, including emeritus professors, from entering the campus.