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"Sacked Turkish academics take lectures to the streets"


France 24 reports that many Turkish academics who were fired from their jobs in the recent crackdown by the Erdoğan government have taken to the streets of Ankara to deliver free lectures to public audiences. These “street academies” have attracted people from all walks of Turkish life, including working-class laborers and middle-class professionals. Check out a snippet of the article below, or the full piece here.

32-year-old Yasin Durak is a co-founder of the “street academies”. He holds a doctorate in sociology and worked as a research assistant at Ankara University before he was dismissed for signing the peace petition.

"I’m one of the ‘academics for peace.’ Because I wanted the war to end, I was accused of associating with terrorists. Ankara University transferred me to another institution in April 2016. I ended up resigning because I didn’t feel safe. I’m currently the subject of five investigations, all of them for supposedly “insulting the president”—all because of an article in which I drew an analogy between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a dragon.

Today, my friends and I organise the “street academies” twice per month. At first, some of the other “academics for peace” told us: “It’s impossible, you’ll be arrested at the first class you try to give.” But now we’re preparing our 8th class.

We watched the Iranian film “Blackboards”, [a 2000 film about itinerant Kurdish teachers who carry their blackboards into small villages to find students] and right away decided to buy a giant blackboard and organise the first session on December 4, 2016, in Kuğulu Park. We told ourselves: “We are the university. We’re going to do the same thing everywhere.” We gave lectures all over Ankara, from the city centre to the working-class districts on the outskirts.