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UĞUR VARDAN

CONTRIBUTOR > Davutoğlu’s conscience way overdue...

UĞUR VARDAN

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Some tests are conducted against time. It seems as if the support Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu gave to jailed professor Büşra Ersanlı was one defeated by time. It was, so to say, too little too late. 

Büşra Ersanlı is free now. Our justice system waited for eight and a half months to eliminate a disgrace. However, just as Professor Ersanlı tells us, “this is not a mood for rejoicing;” because other “terrorists” are still in jail...the incident of Ersanlı’s arrest was an interesting test of not only the strangeness of our legal system, but also for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The masterpiece of the excellent era of the mighty prime minister was shown when Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin approached the issue as such, after Ersanlı was arrested:

“There are 30 thousand professors. If a thousand of them were arrested, then okay, but what is this raising hell for one person only?” Ersanlı said. 

That period also served as an interesting test for Davutoğlu. The foreign minister told journalists on a plane coming back from the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris last week about his colleague with whom he crossed paths with in academic life. “Professor Ersanlı had taken a very democratic stance on Feb. 28. I don’t believe she is a terrorist.” Ironically, Ersanlı, in her interview to t24.com.tr in March said, “I don’t understand why Davutoğlu does not support me openly and clearly.” 

As a matter of fact, support was needed for Ersanlı in the early days of her arrest, especially to counter Şahin’s unreasonable statements, which were unacceptable, let alone for a former colleague, but for any scientist to make. Davutoğlu should have taken the initiative to show his support because of both professional ethics and intellectual conscious. Actually, those names that have been gathered under the AKP umbrella who have an image of a wise man with a conscious do this all the time. Either they smell the air first or after the damage is done they remember that they were democrats or inline with the prime minister’s statements and by virtue of their “culture of submissiveness,” they swing in marching steps. 

Actually, it is possible to view the issue in simpler terms: Life has its own practices and these practices carry you to the right place intuitionally. For example at the Ahmet Şık case, as several of his journalist friends, we all laughed at the accusations directed against him. There was a badly-written scenario presented and each role and each character, far from being credible, was extremely over-dazzling. Whatever, even if the scenario were better written, he was our friend and we knew that he would never do such things. Davutoğlu, too, on the matter with Ersanlı, could have left his political identity aside and could have acted according to the voice of his conscious. Scientists also undertake such risks a little. But, what did he do? He stood up for his former colleague only months later, a person, as he has put it, who had passed the Feb. 28 test.

It is apparent that Davutoğlu has failed at the “zero problems” course. If only he could have passed the “conscious class” at the end of the regular semester and not through a “make-up” test. 
(PS: Ersanlı has told similar thoughts to Asli Aydintasbas from daily Milliyet in its Sunday issue. I would say minds and consciousness think alike. ) 

ugur.vardan@radikal.com.tr  

Uğur Vardan is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on July 16. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

July/17/2012

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Steven Adelman

7/18/2012 5:27:41 PM

"Former head of Turkey's Council on Higher Education Kemal Guruz arrested since AKP wants party hacks to run Turkish science". This is from the last issue of Science the magazine of the world's #1 internat'l scientific society, the AAAS. Article with ~ 100,000 readers slammed Turkey-- very bad publicity since Science is very influential. Dogan you should be frightened that Turkish science is being trashed by the AAAS.

dogan kemal ileri

7/17/2012 2:10:19 AM

The arrest of the professor is a mystery to us all but nonetheless the law has to duly establish and take its course without interference from any authority and particularly not from a cabinet minister who will then be vulnerable to legal manipulation and interfering with the due processes.
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