On May 23 Ayse Gül Altınay , Sabanci University in Istanbul, was sentenced to 25 months in prison for ‘willingly and knowingly supporting a terrorist organisation as a non-member’. This is because she signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” in support of colleagues, democracy and academic freedom. Ayse is a cultural anthropologist, Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Centre and editorial board member of the European Journal of Women’s Studies. She is a very highly appreciated cooperation partner of our Center, the Cornelia Goethe Center for Gender and Women’s Studies at Goethe-University Frankfurt a. M. as she is for many Gender Studies institutions all over the world. Discussion and cooperation with her is always inspiring and leads to innovative research and teaching projects. Colleagues and students know her as an outstanding scholar and teacher, as a brilliant analyst and as an activist who makes a difference.
Presently, in Turkey 700 signatories of the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” have been or are still on trial. They need our support.
As a lifelong feminist and peace activist, Ayse continues to advocate for non-violent protest and dignity in the fact of aggression. Here is an extract from the statement that Ayse read out at her second hearing held on December 11, 2018:
“I signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” because it was a text that invited all to search for peaceful solutions to the problems we were facing, and that reminded the government, which represents me as a citizen, of its responsibility to act under the rule of national and international law.
What we were witnessing in the last days of 2015 pointed to an alarming direction regarding Turkey’s present and future. Indeed, the reports published by national and international human rights organizations in the past three years have confirmed these concerns (see Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2017).
I signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” with the feelings of responsibility I had as a citizen and an academic who has worked on trauma for many years, for a peaceful future that I believe is a basic need for us all.”
Cover Picture: Ayse Gül Altinay: Doing Feminism and Gender Studies in Dark Times, 6.6.2018, Cornelia Goethe Center lecture series, summer 2018, „Feminisms from the Global South“.