Boğaziçi University refuses to reinstate dismissed academic despite court decision

Can Candan, a former faculty member at İstanbul’s Boğaziçi University and a documentary filmmaker who was fired in July 2021 for protesting against the university administration, was not reinstated to his position despite a court ruling in his favor, the Duvar news website reported.

The decision was communicated to Candan on Tuesday by Rector Naci İnci. According to the decision the university “no longer requires Candan’s academic services as another academic was appointed in his place.” The decision added that Candan had “insulted his colleagues” and had been the subject of previous investigations.

However, the Western Languages and Literature Department had already notified the rector’s office that they had been unable to appoint another lecturer to the courses previously taught by Candan. Moreover, disciplinary investigations into him have still not been concluded.

A vocal supporter of the resistance against appointed rectors at Boğaziçi, Candan was fired by İnci, the former vice rector of the university who was appointed acting rector after the dismissal of Melih Bulu, whose appointment by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in early January sparked more than six months of protests.

According to local media reports, İnci dismissed Candan following his appointment as acting rector due to an administrative investigation into the academic over a tweet in which he quoted criticism of İnci by Erkan Baş, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP).

İnci had cited “Candan’s lack of attention to classes” and his “failure to fulfill the required conditions as stated in the law” as the reasons for his dismissal.

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.

In March, a regional administrative court issued an injunction against the dismissal.

Candan said in a social media post that he did not accept the university’s decision and that he would once take again take legal action against the university administration.

Candan’s lawyer, Fırat Kuyurtar, said the decision was unacceptable and violated the court’s ruling. “The university administration is pursuing a personal vendetta against my client and is violating the court order in the process,” he said. “My client is a public servant, and the university cannot simply fire him without a formal process.”

Kuyurtar said they would file another complaint against the university administration.

A prolonged series of protests broke out at Boğaziçi University after 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 January 2021.

Shortly after Bulu’s dismissal by a presidential decree in July 2021, the university community demanded that a democratic election be held at the university to elect a new rector, adding that they would not accept the appointment of a rector to replace Bulu, either from within or without the university, since they oppose the appointment of rectors by Erdoğan.

However, Erdoğan on August 20 appointed İnci, a former deputy to Bulu, as the new rector, despite a 95 percent disapproval rating he received in polls held among the university community to determine possible rector candidates, again prompting outrage among academics and students.

University staff members have been standing with their backs turned to the rectorate building every day in protest of the presidentially appointed rectors.

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