University of Oslo grants Human Rights Award to persecuted Turkish academic İştar Gözaydın

Prominent professor and social scientist İştar Gözaydın.

University of Oslo in Norway (UIO) granted Human Rights Award for 2017 to Turkish academic and activist Professor İştar Gözaydın for her efforts towards freedoms and human rights in Turkey.

According to a story in TR724 website on Monday, Gözaydın, who was jailed for four months as part of a government crackdown against against dissidents following a failed coup last year, told UIO’s Uniforma newspaper that she was honored by the award and she thinks she was awarded because of an article about her in the newspaper last year.

UIO Rector Svein Stølen told Uniforma that Gözaydın was awarded because she is a successful academic, active in public debates, contentious in freedom of expression and human right issues.

Stølen said he expects Gözaydın would arrive in Oslo in November to receive her award.

Speaking about her jail times, Gözaydın told Uniforma that during her pre-trial detention from Dec. 20, 2016 to April 7, 2017, she had received over 200 letters from all over the world and replied to all.

She also underlined that her cellmates were those academics like her who were dismissed from their profession by government decrees which was issued as part of emergency rule declared days after a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

Gözaydın was detained on Dec. 20 as part of an investigation conducted by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the faith-based Gülen movement which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind the failed coup. She was arrested on Dec. 27.

Gözaydın was head of the sociology department at the İzmir-based Gediz University, which was shut down by government decree along with thousands of other educational institutions in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15 over institution’s alleged links with the movement.

A former Fulbright scholar, Gözaydın had worked as a research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and is also among the founders of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a Turkish-based human rights organization.

The failed military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the movement denied any involvement. (

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