Academic dismissed from daily after Dec. 17 fired from university

Professor and columnist Osman ozsoy, who adopted a pro-democratic stance after a corruption scandal erupted on Dec. 17, was fired by the Yeni Safak daily due to “instructions from above” in late December, and has now been dismissed from Halic University, where he taught public relations, according to reports in the media.

ozsoy was under contract with the university until 2016.

ozsoy, reacting to the university’s decision to fire him without providing any reason why, was quoted as saying by the Zaman daily that he would continue to teach his students on the streets if necessary as he has been banned from entering the university campus.

ozsoy said that he had been discharged without any prior notice. He said the university had also instructed private security guards to not allow him to enter the campus, adding: “The decision was made by the university’s chairman of the board of visitors, who has no such authority, instead of the university administration or the dean’s office.

It is obvious that it is a political decision. Bowing to such an arbitrary and unfair decision does not befit an intellectual individual. If needed, I will teach my students on the street. I will not leave my students in the lurch. If I am barred from giving lessons to my students, I will be honored to be the symbol of resistance against unlawful and unfair practices in Turkey.”

ozsoy was assigned vice rector of the university in 2013. However, ozsoy said that the contract has been canceled by Mansur Topcuoglu, the chairman of the board of visitors.

Complaining about the unlawful process, ozsoy said his salary had been cut by a quarter since January, adding: “Those who were encouraged by the recent political atmosphere were trying to make up a reason to bar me from teaching in the university. If the decision to fire me was taken in an effort to appease the political authority, then I consider the move to be persecution in terms of academic freedom. The university has to launch an administrative inquiry into fire me prior to making such a decision.”

Noting that the university administration felt uneasy with statements he made on TV programs Twitter after the Dec. 17 corruption scandal, ozsoy went on to say: “If an academic has no freedom to express himself in a country, then no one can talk about advanced democracy there. If am barred from teaching at the university, I am planning on giving my lessons in front of Galatasaray High School or in the street next to the Halic University. After all, a professor should be at the university with his students when it’s time to teach. I will teach my Expectation Management class on Tuesday at 1 p.m. I will be there on time.”