SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: June 26, 2013

Attack Types: Prosecution

Institution(s):Uludağ University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Assistant Professor Dr. Timuçin Köprülü, a Member of the Uludağ University Law School faculty, was made the subject of a disciplinary investigation by the Rector’s Office, after attending the law school’s graduation ceremony on 26 June 2013, wearing a T-shirt bearing a ‘Resist’ banner, and giving a speech sympathizing with the Taksim Gezi initiative. A translation of his short speech that led to the investigation of Dr. Köprülü is as follows:
“Dear guests,

I gave lectures to these students for three years. I was their professor for the courses of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedural Law. I believe I have a right to say a few words. It won’t take long. We go through an era where lies replace the law and the law is a lie. Some say that “the police demonstrated epic heroism.”  You cannot call killing people in the demonstrations, making the demonstrators blind, using tear gas on thousands of people, dragging and forcing lawyers out of the courthouses and arresting the lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association heroism. The real heroes are these graduates. Thank you.”

During his disciplinary proceedings, Dr. Köprülü was reportedly not informed what violation he was accused of commiting, or what his potential punishment might be.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about retaliation against a professor for exercising his right to express his views peacefully on campus. University authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with academic freedom or expressive activity, so long as that activity is undertaken peacefully and responsibly. Retaliatory discharge aimed at limiting such expressive activity harms academic freedom and related higher education values including autonomy and social responsibility.