Istanbul University professor to be probed for discrimination against Kurdish lecturer
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL
Alasgar Özperçin has been an academic member at the university’s Faculty of Education since 2006.A legal investigation has been opened into a professor from Istanbul University, after a Kurdish-origin lecturer filed a complaint claiming that his thesis study was interrupted by the professor due to his ethnicity.
Alasgar Özperçin, who has been an academic member at the university’s Faculty of Education since 2006, filed a complaint against Professor Necmettin Kamil Sevil last year, saying he did not do his duty as a thesis adviser.
Sevil allegedly insulted Özperçin by saying, “You’re not intelligent enough to write a thesis in social science,” the lecturer said in his complaint.
“Özperçin is a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. He is engaging in Kurdish nationalism. He is a dangerous person,” Sevil allegedly told other academics in phone calls, prompting a number of them to step down as jury members for Özperçin’s thesis.
A professor at the university had been assigned to investigate the incident following the complaint, while Sevil defended himself by saying Özperçin had leveled false charges because of his failure.
However, one witness at the university, who has been identified as N.N.L., also said Sevil discriminated against his students on the basis of their home towns. Another instructor corroborated the account, saying Sevil had also stated, “Your brain does not work in the afternoon because you’re Laz.”
The investigator found Sevil guilty of ill-treatment and abusing colleagues, personnel and students, concluding that he had insulted Özperçin’s dignity. Sevil was also found guilty of causing Özperçin to be known as a member of an illegal organization among the academic society.
He suggested that the Istanbul University dean’s office issue a reprimand for Sevil, but only a simple written warning was issued due to the professor’s services to the university over many years.
Dean Selahattin Dilidüzgün turned down a disciplinary penalty, saying Sevil’s remarks about Özperçin being a member of an illegal organization were "individual statements."
Following the dean’s rejection, Özperçin filed a formal legal complaint through his lawyers.
After the demand from the prosecutor's office, a new commission was formed at the university and prepared a new report, stating that a legal process should be initiated against Sevil.