An Academic Dean and Political Enforcer

Something is rotten on the campus of Marmara University, says the Middle East Studies Association.

In letter of protest to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, the Middle East Studies Association has voiced its concern that the Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Yusuf Devran, has waged a war of intimidation and harassment against students and faculty based on their political beliefs and affiliations.

MESA, the most important scholarly organization devoted to Middle East Studies in North America, voiced its concern regarding the government-appointed Devran:

Since his appointment in July 2011, Dean Devran has reportedly used his position to single out students and faculty for surveillance, verbal and physical harassment, disciplinary proceedings and ethnic and political profiling—including the designation of students as potential PKK affiliates as a result of their involvement in activities deemed critical of the government or of the dean himself, or simply because they are ethnically Kurdish. Beyond the targeting of students and faculty, he has also used his position to cancel academic programs on the basis of objections to their substantive focus in a manner inimical to academic freedom.

Moreover, the MESA letter highlights that events on the Marmara Campus are not isolated.

Rather, MESA notes, “[Devran’s actions are] a concrete and extreme example of the concerns… regarding violations of academic freedom undertaken by government-appointed university administrators [in Turkey].

Clearly, the war on dissent in Turkey continues.

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