February 20, 2017

Professor of Law and Former Head of Sociology Department at Gediz University Arrested

Dr. İştar Gözaydın, a professor of law and politics and former head of the Department of Sociology at Gediz University, was relieved of her position at Gediz University in Turkey. She was then arrested in December when Gediz University was closed in July under the current “State of Emergency”. Dr. Gözaydın was arrested on December 28, and charged with being a member of an armed terror organization. She is now detained at Şakran prison in İzmir Province.

We urge President Erdogan to review this case and bring about the release of Dr. İştar Gözaydın without delay.

January 11, 2017
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
President of Turkey
Office of the President
06573 Basbakanlik
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 04 76
E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr

Dear President Erdoğan,

The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.

We write today to express our grave concerns for Dr. İştar Gözaydın, a professor of law and politics and former head of the Department of Sociology at Gediz University. After being relieved of her position when Gediz University was closed in July under the current “State of Emergency”, Dr. Gözaydın was arrested on December 28, and charged with being a member of an armed terror organization. She is now detained at Şakran prison in İzmir Province. Her lawyer has had only limited access to her investigation file, and Dr. Gözaydın had, as of late December, been denied a visit from her husband.

The investigation into her University, as part of the “FETÖ/PDY Investigation”, appears to have provided no evidence to justify these charges, which appear instead to be based on her social media posts criticizing capital punishment and mob violence, as well as on her human rights advocacy as the founder of a human rights NGO called the Helsinki Citizens Assembly.

It appears to us the Dr. Gözaydın has been arbitrarily detained, and wrongfully charged, for exercising her basic right to freedom of expression. Even under the current “State of Emergency”, her detention violates Turkey’s international and European human rights commitments, and is illegal under Turkish law.

We urge you to review this case and bring about the release of Dr. İştar Gözaydın without delay.

Sincerely,

Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer

Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists

Copies to:

Ambassador Serdar Kılıç
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700/1
Fax: 1 202 612 6744
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

Minister of Justice
Mr. Bekir Bozdağ
Ministry of Justice
Adalet Bakanlığı
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 71 13