Turkish police detain feminist academic for 'interviewing defendant' during research

Turkish police have detained feminist academic Prof. Nükhet Sirman for allegedly interviewing a defendant as part of an academic study. Sirman's colleagues condemned her arbitrary transfer to the southern Mersin province for questioning and the court-issued confidentiality order on her case.

Duvar English

Turkish police on March 26 began questioning sociologist Prof. Nükhet Sirman, three days after the academic was detained from her residence in Istanbul.

Sirman was transferred to the southern Mersin province for questioning regarding an interview she conducted as part of her research.

Sirman is also a member of the “Academics for Peace,” a group of academics who stood trial and were sacked from their state jobs via government decrees (KHK) in 2016 after they signed a petition urging the government to cease its military operations in the country’s Kurdish majority southeast.

Sirman was detained for allegedly interviewing a person of interest to the Turkish police and faced arbitrary treatment under custody, according to reporting by the daily Evrensel.   

Dissensus Research, which Sirman cofounded, published a statement about her status. The group held that Sirman was detained for one of her connections during fieldwork she conducted for a project. 

They added that Sirman’s transfer to Mersin province was unnecessary, and she could have been questioned in Istanbul. 

Limited information was available about the reasoning behind Sirman’s detention, as a confidentiality order was placed on her case. 

“We refuse the measures taken against our colleague, while it is apparent that her activities were conducted in the scope of an academic research project,” the statement concluded. 

The Peace Academics called for the immediate release of Sirman. “Our teacher, friend, the peace academic Nükhet Sirman was detained in connection with one of her fieldwork connections and faced arbitrary treatment under custody. Release Professor Sirman immediately!” read the group’s social media post.