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Court halts the execution of academic Can Candan’s dismissal from Boğaziçi University – Bianet English

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« The administrative court has ruled that the execution of academic and documentary filmmaker Can Candan’s dismissal from Boğaziçi University shall be suspended » reports Bianet English.

The İstanbul 7th Administrative Court has given a decision of stay of execution for the dismissal of Can Candan from Boğaziçi University.

After he was dismissed from the university in-mid July 2021, academic and documentary filmmaker Can Candan filed a lawsuit and demanded the stay of execution and annulment of his dismissal. The administrative court has now halted the execution by a majority of votes.

Can Candan was dismissed on July 16, 2021, when the current appointed rector Prof. Naci İnci was the acting rector of Boğaziçi University. After he was dismissed from the university where he was teaching classes at the Film Studies Program of the Faculty of Western Languages and Literatures, Candan took legal action against the decision on August 13, 2021.

While the Education and Science Laborers Union (Eğitim-Sen) also got involved in this court case, on January 20, 2022, the İstanbul 2nd Administrative Court rejected the request for the stay of execution for the second time. Candan appealed against this rejection. 

By a majority of votes on February 16, 2022, the İstanbul 7th Administrative Court has given a decision of stay of execution.

Candan: I am going back on my duty

Candan had been an academic at Boğaziçi University for 14 years. He announced the recent court ruling on his social media account, noting that he was informed about the ruling by his lawyer Fırat Kuyurtar.

He said that on the 227th day of his dismissal from Boğaziçi « based on groundless allegations and in an unjust and unlawful manner », he received the news that the court has halted the execution of his dismissal.

« We don’t accept, we don’t give up for autonomous, free and democratic university all across Turkey, » he reiterated.

Noting that the court case for reinstatement is still ongoing, Can Candan wrote, « This interim ruling has been handed down by the regional administrative court which overturned the first instance court’s rejection for the second time. Until the final ruling is given, this ruling will not change. So, I am going back on my duty until the final ruling is handed down. »

What happened?

After Melih Bulu, the appointed rector of Boğaziçi University, was dismissed by a Presidential decree on July 15 amid wide-scale protests, Naci İnci, who was the vice rector of Bulu, was first appointed as the acting rector of the university by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

Shortly after his appointment as an acting rector, Naci İnci sent Can Candan a letter, informing him about his dismissal.

Can Candan, a documentary filmmaker, academic and faculty advisor of the BÜLGBTI+ Student’s Club, which was closed by the appointed rector, had been filming and documenting the protests of Boğaziçi University faculty against the appointment of Melih Bulu for months.

After his dismissal from Boğaziçi University, Can Candan said that this decision was, above all else, an attack on students’ right to education and filed a lawsuit against the Rectorate of Boğaziçi University on August 13 and demanded the stay of the execution and termination of his dismissal. The İstanbul 2nd Administrative Court has dismissed this application by concluding that the related action « was in conformity with the law. »

After the appointed administration dismissed Candan despite the decisions of the faculty and department, he announced on Twitter that he would be giving his classes FA 498 Documentary Cinema and FA350 Film Project, which he had been offering every fall semester for 14 years.

The first class of this semester was scheduled for October 11 at 10 am – 2 pm at the South Campus and would be broadcast online.

Going to the South Campus of the Boğaziçi University for his open class on October 11, Can Candan was not let in the school.

Candan shared the incident in a video on Twitter, briefly saying, « I was going to have the first meeting of my documentary filmmaking course with my students at the South Campus as an open class today. We, my spouse from the Department of Sociology and I, came here together in our vehicle. When they saw me, ‘Professor, we cannot let you in.’ When I asked the reason why, they said, ‘There is an instruction from the Rectorate.’ I now cannot have my open class which I was planning to have. »

About Can Candan

Documentary filmmaker, academic.

He has a BA from Hampshire College (USA) in film and video, and an MFA from Temple University (USA) in film and media arts. As a filmmaker since 1989, his works have been screened internationally at festivals, conferences, schools, universities, in galleries, cinemas, and on television. He has taught film courses and workshops, both in universities and media education centers in the United States and in Turkey. He is a founding member of docIstanbul Center for Documentary Studies, which organized the 2010 Visible Evidence International Documentary Studies Conference at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

During the academic year, he teaches on documentary history, theory and criticism; documentary cinema in Turkey and mentors film-related projects and theses. In 2016, he published (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK) an edited book entitled « Kurdish Documentary Cinema of Turkey » with Suncem Koçer (PhD) and has been collaborating with her on a new edited book entitled « Documentary Cultures in Turkey. » He is also working on a new book (in Turkish) in collaboration with Sonay Ban (PhD), about the history of documentary cinema in Turkey.

He has three feature length documentary films in international distribution. He is also developing and fundraising for his new feature documentary film entitled « Nuclear alla Turca » on the nuclear stories of Turkey.

In 2005, he resigned as the chair of the film and television department of Istanbul Bilgi University after the university administration refused to take action on a sexual harassment case and he was subsequently fired. In 2012, he helped establish Boğaziçi University’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Commission (CİTÖK).

In 2014, he resigned as the head of the jury of the national documentary film competition at the Antalya International Film Festival, Turkey, calling attention to the censorship scandal regarding a documentary about the Gezi Park Uprising.

In January 2016, he was one of the 2,212 signatories of the Academics for Peace declaration « We will not be a party to this crime », calling on the Government of Turkey to end the violence against the Kurdish population and resolve the conflict through peaceful means. Along with other signatories, he was accused of « propagandizing for a terrorist organization » and tried in a heavy penal court under the anti-terror law, facing a minimum jail sentence of 15 months. Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling in favor of freedom of expression in 2019, he was acquited of all charges.

He continues to actively advocate for peace, conflict-resolution, human rights, freedom of speech and expression as well as environmental protection.

He is the academic advisor of Boğaziçi University’s LGBTI+ student club, which was closed following the appointment of a rector by a Presidential decree.

Recently, he has received The Turkish Film Critics Association’s 2021 Honor Award.

*Source: Can Candan Academia account

Bianet English, March 4, 2022, Photo/Sabiha CIMEN/MAGNUM PHOTO

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