Gezi’s ‘woman in red’ faces internal probe at university for e-mail
Ceyda Sungur became a reluctant symbol of the Gezi protests when a police officer was photographed spraying tear gas in her face during the very first police crackdown on local activists in Gezi Park.Ceyda Sungur, a research assistant at Istanbul Technical University who become known across the world as “the woman in red” due to an iconic photograph at the start of last year’s Gezi protests, is facing an internal faculty investigation over an email sent from her university account.
Sungur sent a private email defending a colleague who was recently fired, criticizing the administration about the situation and calling on the board of the Faculty of Architecture to investigate the case.
However, the faculty administration responded by launching an investigation into Sunger herself, accusing her of “provoking other research assistants.”
“More than the content and legitimacy of the email, what is important here is the fact that even the merest communication between assistants who don’t have much job security is under the surveillance of the faculty administration,” Sungur said.
“This is unacceptable in an academic environment that is expected to be questioning, critical and productive,” she added.
Sungur became a reluctant symbol of the Gezi protests when a police officer was photographed spraying tear gas in her face during the very first police crackdown on local activists gathered to prevent the cutting down of trees at Gezi Park on May 28, 2013.
She later faced a prison sentence on charges of “provocation” and “disobeying the laws,” before she was eventually cleared by the court in January. For his part, the police officer who attacked her now faces three years in prison for “abuse of authority” in an ongoing trial.
Sungur also received a warning from the university after participating in a protest at her faculty against the daughter of Turkish Airlines director Hamdi Topçu, claiming that her appointment to the university violated regulations.