Professor Sengor served cup of feces by İTU students

Along with the feces, students also hung a note on his door, which read: “This is our gift to Celal Sengor. We expect him to eat it with pleasure, as he stated.”

Celal Sengor, a geology professor at Istanbul Technical University, said in an interview with Radikal on Sunday he “unequivocally” supported the actions of Kenan Evren, the former military chief of General Staff who led the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’état — the bloodiest military intervention in the history of the Turkish Republic.

Sengor stated he supported the actions of Evren because he lived through the period leading up to the coup, adding that he supported the infamous fecal torture on inmates at Diyarbakır military prison and Mamak prison.

When asked whether the pre-coup environment validated torturous practices such as the force-feeding of feces, Sengor replied, “No, no wait a minute, forcing someone to eat feces is not torture.”

Asked to explain, Sengor said, “I’d happily eat [feces]. Do you know why? Because I saw gorillas do it at the San Diego Zoo. They were offering their feces to each other. It’s nice. Nothing will happen.”

‘My intention was to relieve victims’ pain’

After mounting criticism on social media, Sengor apologized for his statement, saying that his intention was to help the people who were forced to eat feces during the military coup of 1980 to overcome the trauma.

“I said those words knowingly, but I was misunderstood. I meant that eating feces does not pose any threat to one’s health. In fact, it is necessary to cure some diseases. But, unfortunately some people were forced to eat it. They experienced this trauma. And now I am saying ‘it is not a big deal’ to relieve them of this trauma. None of those orders were given by the top generals [of the 1980 coup]. I heard this from Tahsin Sahinkaya himself,” Sengor stated.

Gen. Sahinkaya, commander of the air force during Turkey’s 1980 military coup, served time in prison from 1978 to 1983 and was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2014. He was convicted on charges of forcing the dissolution of Parliament, abolishing the Constitution and destroying democratic order by ousting then-Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel. Sahinkaya died on July 9, 2015.

Sinan Olcan, a doctor who was jailed in Diyarbakır Prison on Dec. 2, 1980 and subjected to abuse and systematic torture for months, lambasted Sengor, saying that thousands of people were forced to eat feces and thereby died of cholera.

“What trauma are you talking about! This was a crime against humanity. The man in charge of the prison was a commander who was suffering from depression and enjoyed torturing people. There were more than 170 other people with me in a small barracks, and we were tortured for months,” Olcan said in a live TV interview late on Monday.

Olcan, who currently works as a doctor in Akyazı, Sakarya province, filed a complaint in 2011 against the leader of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, retired Gen. Kenan Evren. He has said he cannot erase the memories of the torture he endured while in Diyarbakır Prison, infamous due to the abuse its inmates faced during the coup period.

The Sept. 12 coup is believed to be the bloodiest coup Turkey has ever seen. Hundreds died and thousands were tortured in military and civilian prisons. Many had to flee the country and thousands were fired from academic or government offices. It has also had the longest-lasting effects of all of Turkey’s four coups. The current Constitution and several government agencies, such as the Higher Education Board (YOK), are remnants of the period around Sept. 12.

A total of 50 people were executed and half a million were arrested as a result of the coup. Hundreds died in jail and many more disappeared during the three years of military rule after the coup, which at the time was Turkey’s third in 20 years.


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