US philosopher Butler, TTB chair Financı to hold online lectures for Boğaziçi University students

Judith Butler, who is known for her decades of work in philosophy, feminism and activism worldwide, and Şebnem Korur Financı, the head of the Turkish Medical Association, will on Feb. 24 hold online open lectures for Boğaziçi University students amid ongoing protests at the university. Meanwhile, signatories of the Academics for Peace Petition said on Feb. 23 that they were "not surprised" at the Erdoğan-appointed Boğaziçi University rector's choice of dean for the new law faculty.

Butler (L) and Financı are seen in this collage photo.

Duvar English

U.S. philosopher Judith Butler and Turkish Medical Association President Şebnem Korur Financı will hold online open lectures for Istanbul's Boğaziçi University students on Feb. 24.

Butler, who is currently a professor in the department of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, will participate as a speaker in the open lecture organized by the Phil-Free education community founded by Boğaziçi University's philosophy students.

The lecture will take place at 9 p.m. local time and focus on “Transregional Solidarities.” Butler will celebrate her birthday live with the students.

To attend the lecture, a registration form needs to be filled out, which has been shared by the Phil-Free.

TTB President Financı on the other hand will hold an open lecture about “Academia and Human Rights in Turkey” at 2 p.m. local time. The lecture can be accessed either on Zoom or on the YouTube account of Boğaziçi Direnişi (“Boğaziçi Resistance”) group.

The two lectures come amid ongoing protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's appointment of Melih Bulu as the new rector of Boğaziçi University.

Students began their protests nearly two months ago, saying the appointment of Bulu was undemocratic. Teachers at the university have also protested Bulu’s swearing-in.

Bulu, who has applied to be a candidate for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a 2015 parliamentary election, was the first rector chosen from outside a university since a military coup in Turkey in 1980.

Peace Petition signatories 'not surprised' at Boğaziçi rector's choice of dean for new law faculty 

Meanwhile, law faculty academics who were dismissed from their positions after signing the so-called “Peace Petition” in 2016, have released a statement saying that the appointment of Prof. Selami Kuran as the dean of Boğaziçi University's new law faculty was “not surprising.”

The dismissed academics noted that Kuran was one of the five members of a committee that had been formed at Istanbul's Marmara University to carry out disciplinary actions against the signatories of the petition. They recalled that Kuran had voted in favor of the academics' dismissal, along with three other committee members.

The Peace Petition was issued in January 2016 and initially signed by 1,128 scholars from 89 Turkish universities. It demanded an end to the fighting between Turkish forces and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). As a result of the nonviolent expression of ideas, the academics were prosecuted and many of them lost their careers with state of emergency decrees.

“We legal experts who have signed the Peace Petition have found out with sadness about the decision to establish a law faculty at Boğaziçi University and the assignment of Marmara University International Law Department Head Prof. Dr. Selami Kuran as the dean of this faculty. However, we have not found it surprising that Kuran's name came together with the law faculty of Boğaziçi University, which was decided to be established in an arbitrary way, completely disregarding the university's autonomy as well as the university's capacity and needs,” the academics' statement read.

Earlier in February, Erdoğan issued a presidential order that ordered the establishment of law and communications faculties at Boğaziçi University.

The new rector Bulu welcomed Erdoğan's order, saying the two faculties “will contribute different perspectives and richnesses to Boğaziçi.”

Experts noted that Erdoğan's move will help Bulu to install his own cadres of academics as new hires and change the composition of the academic personnel, in a complete disregard for the university's needs and resources.