Boğaziçi University academic says he was fired over a tweet

Photo: Twitter @budirenisi

Can Candan, a former faculty member at İstanbul’s Boğaziçi University and a documentary filmmaker, has said he was informed that his dismissal from the university in July was due to an administrative investigation into one of his tweets, Turkish Minute reported on Wednesday.

Candan revealed in a series of tweets late Tuesday that he received a notice from the university more than five months after his dismissal saying he was fired due to an administrative investigation into a tweet of his in which he quoted Erkan Baş, the chairman of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP).

According to the media reports, the tweet quoted Baş as saying, “Is there one person who would recognize you if the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] and its accomplice, Melih [Bulu], hadn’t stood behind you?”

Baş’s remarks were directed at Prof. Dr. Naci İnci, the then-vice rector of Boğaziçi University who replaced Melih Bulu as acting rector in July. The TİP leader was criticizing İnci due to his cancelation of a course in May taught by lawyer-academic Feyzi Erçin, who had been giving classes at Boğaziçi for eight years.

Candan said the university administration summoned him to give his defense as part of the investigation on Dec. 29, adding that he informed them via a written response that he would not be coming to their office at the specified time since the investigation he was facing was “against procedure and the law.”

“They are now trying to conduct an investigation that they didn’t conduct and conclude [when they should have] five-and-a-half months ago but which they cited as the reason for my unjust and unlawful dismissal. Why?” Candan said.

The former Boğaziçi academic explained that it was because the court wanted to see the documents for the investigation launched into him as part of a lawsuit he filed against the rector’s office in August.

Candan demanded an injunction and annulment of his dismissal by İnci in a lawsuit that also includes the left-wing Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen), of which Candan is a member, as a complainant.

A vocal supporter of the resistance against appointed rectors at Boğaziçi, where he had been a lecturer since 2007, Candan was fired by İnci, who was appointed acting rector after the dismissal of Bulu.

A prolonged series of protests broke out at Boğaziçi University after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Bulu, a founding member of the ruling AKP’s Sarıyer district branch and former deputy chairman of the AKP’s İstanbul provincial chapter, as rector in early January.

Following the dismissal of Bulu in July, İnci was appointed acting rector despite a 95 percent disapproval rating he received in polls held among the university community to determine possible rector candidates.

Although 17 candidates emerged with high rates of approval, the president appointed İnci, again prompting outrage among academics and students.

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