Trials of academics, who have been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the declaration entitled "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace, continued in İstanbul Çağlayan Courthouse today (June 5).
Emeritus Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara University had her third hearing at the 32nd Heavy Penal Court.
The attorney Aynur Tuncel-Yazgan made a written statement on the defense of Ersanlı as to the accusations. The Prosecutor repeated his opinion as to the accusations and demanded that Ersanlı be tried as per the Article No. 7/2 of Anti-Terror Law as he also did at the previous hearing.
Ersanlı said, "I repeat my statement. I demand my acquittal". Her attorney Aynur Tuncel-Yazgan emphasized that the legal elements of the charges brought against Ersanlı did not arise and requested that a judgement of acquittal be pronounced. Ersanlı stated that she did not demand deferment of the announcement of the verdict.
The court board ruled that Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı shall be sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The board also ruled that the deferment of the verdict shall not be implemented on the ground that "no opinion as to her avoidance of committing offense has emerged considering her personality which does not express any remorse."
Ersanlı has the right to object to the verdict in seven days.
The court board consisted of the Presiding Judge Ömer Günaydın; Court Members Habibe Ertuğrul and Özgür Erkan; Prosecutor Caner Babaloğlu.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of June 5, 242 academics had their first hearings. 15 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara University.
On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled "We will not be party to this crime" on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative. With the participation of further academics, the number of academics who have signed the declaration has reached 2,212.
With the indictment issued by the Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt, lawsuits were filed against the academics on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
As of June 5, 2018, 242 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 15 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara University.
The penalty of Prof. Dr. Üstel was not deferred on the grounds that "she did not demand deferment of the announcement of the verdict and that she did not make a statement of penitence." As for the penalty of Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı, it was not deferred on the ground that "no opinion as to her avoidance of committing offense has emerged considering her personality which does not express any remorse."
On March 10, 2016, the Academics for Peace made a statement for press and shared with the public what they had been going through since the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" was published. The academics Dr. Lecturer Esra Mungan, Dr. Lecturer Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy (March 15, 2016) and Dr. Lecturer Meral Camcı (March 31, 2016), who read out the above-mentioned statement for press, were arrested on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law. They were released on April 2016. Upon the request of the Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Justice granted a permission of trial as per the Article No. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code No. 301 on charges of "insulting the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey and the institutions and organs of the government." The lawsuits still continue.
About Büşra Ersanlı
Political scientist Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı was an academic at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Department of Political Science and International Relations of Marmara University for 27 years and she retired in December 2016. She completed her PhD in Political Sciences at Boğaziçi University.
In 1978, Ersanlı graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature of Boğaziçi University, where she also completed her MA and PhD at the Department of Political Science.
The PhD thesis of Ersanlı was published as a book with the title İktidar ve Tarih, Türkiye'de "Resmi Tarih" Tezinin Oluşumu (1929-1937) (Political Power and History, the Formation of "Official History" Thesis in Turkey (1929-1937)) (AFA, 1992: İletişim Publishing, 1996).
Her main academic fields of interest are political theories, nationalism, Turkish nationalism, national history writing, Central Asia, Caucasus, Russian Federation, Eurasia Studies and gender, about which she has published numerous articles in Turkish and other languages.
She has two collected books, namely Bağımsızlığın İlk Yılları: Azerbaycan, Kazakistan, Kırgızistan, Özbekistan, Türkmenistan (The First Years of Independence: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) (Ministry of Culture, 1994) and Türk Cumhuriyetleri Kültür Profili: Azerbaycan, Kazakistan, Kırgızistan, Özbekistan, Türkmenistan (Cultural Profile of Turkic Republics: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) (Ministry of Culture, 1995).
Ersanlı has other works entitled Türkmenistan'da Toplum ve Kültür (Society and Culture in Turkmenistan) (Ministry of Culture, 1998) with Orazpolat Akaev, Söz'ün, Saz'ın, Ateş'in Ülkesi: Azerbaycan (The Country of Word, Saz and Fire: Azerbaijan) (DA Publishing, 2004) with Hüsamettin Memedov and Her Yerde Her Zaman Siyaset: Türkiye'de Siyasal Kültür, Siyasal Sistem ve Kadın (Politics Everywhere and Everytime: Political Culture, Political System and Women in Turkey) (KA-DER, 2008) with İbrahim Mazlum.
Büşra Ersanlı was arrested on October 31, 2011 as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) operation and released from prison on July 13, 2012. She recounted this period in her book entitled Bulut Falı (Cloud-Reading) (Can Publishing, 2014).
Ersanlı has also supported the educational works of a number of associations such as KA-DER (The Association for Support of Women Candidates) and AÇEV (Mother and Child Education Foundation). Moreover, she has been elected to the Economy and Social History Foundation of Turkey (TESEV), the University Professors Association, the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, the 10 December Movement, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Assembly.
Ersanlı also took part in the BDP Constitution Commission, which was initiated under the umbrella of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) within the frame of preparation works for the new Constitution. During this period, she partook in the inter-party preparation and reconciliation negotiations, thereby channelizing her scientific and political background into the new constitution writing process. (BK/SD)
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