Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey

Three academics were placed in pretrial detention on 16th March, Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, and Kıvanç Ersoy. Ersoy teaches in the mathematics department at Mimar Sinan University and Mungan in the psychology department at Boğaziçi University. Kaya was recently dismissed from the social work department at Nişantaşı University for signing the petition. They were detained and then jailed by a court a day after President Erdoğan called for the crime of terrorism to be widened to include expression which he judges “serves the aims of terrorists,” and which would target professions such as journalists, politicians, and activists. His remarks came after the March 13 bombing which killed 37 people in Ankara’s city center.

From http://change.org

Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/international-community-and-elected-representatives-stop-the-persecution-of-academics-for-peace-in-turkey

The Turkish government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continue to oppress political dissent violently and illegally in Turkey. On January 11, President Erdoğan accused 1128 academics of treason for signing  a call for peace in Turkey. In the call, the signatories stated that they would not be party either to the massacre against the Kurds or to Turkish’s state’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties. Following Erdoğan’s speech, hundreds of academics who signed the petition were subject to disciplinary and criminal investigations, detentions and suspensions.

In response to this witch-hunt, we had signed a letter in support of academic freedom in Turkey and asked for ending the prosecution of Academics for Peace. The letter was submitted to MPs and MEPs in Europe and published in the media in January.

Yet the Turkish government did not heed the call for academic freedom and had intensified the witch-hunt against the Academics for Peace. As of 10 March 2016, the toll was as follows:
Public Universities       Private Universities
Disciplinary investigations                 464                                43
Criminal investigations                      153
Detentions                                          33
Suspensions                                       27
Contract termination                           9                                   21
Forced resignations                            5                                    1
Furthermore, on 15 March 2016 three academics were incarcerated for signing the original call of Academics for Peace and announcing that they will start an ‘Academic Vigil’. The arrested academics are:  Esra Mungan of Boğaziçi University, Kıvanç Ersoy of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, and Muzaffer Kaya, formerly of Nişantaşı University.

A fourth academic and a UK citizen, Chris Stephenson of Bilgi University, was detained for holding a vigil outside the court in support of the three academics and for carrying a Newroz (Kurdish New Year) invitation from a parliamentary party – the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). On 16 March 2016, the case of Chris Stephenson, who has been resident in Turkey since 1991, was transferred to another court with the demand of being deported, and he had to leave the country.

We ask the international community and elected representatives to call on the Turkish government to stop the witch hunt against Academics for Peace, respect academic freedoms, free the arrested academics, and re-instate all the academics suspended or expelled during the persecution campaign with compensation.

Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/international-community-and-elected-representatives-stop-the-persecution-of-academics-for-peace-in-turkey

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Ignacio Martín Baró’s example and its impact.

pic for Taiwo's piece

The People Need Homes: Focus E15 Mothers struggle for the right to decent affordable housing in London where poor people are being ‘priced out’ by the logic of the housing price bubble market.

Here is the second in our series of pieces to commemorate the murder of Ignacio Martín Baró in November, 1989.  It is by Taiwo Afuape who is a  clinical psychologist and systemic therapist working in mental health services for children and for adults where she lives, in London.  She reflects on what Martín Baró and Liberation Psychology means for her, linking this to contemporary social, political and economic struggles in the UK where despite being a rich country we have extreme and increasing inequality, exploitation and oppression while helping inflict these things on other regions.  Taiwo makes particular reference to her Nigerian heritage and her family, reminding us that the personal is politics, just as the psychological is also political, while the political is both personal and psychological too.

Read Taiwo’s piece HERE

This month also sees the appearance of an article by Wayne Dykstra Liberation psychology – a history for the future.  Wayne, who comes from the United States, but is researching Liberation Psychology’s diffusion in Dublin, particularly focusses on the solidarity extended to Martín Baró and the Salvadorian struggle by a number of North American psychologists, including Adrianne Aron who provided the first piece in libpsy.org’s 25 years on series.  At our request the piece has been made open access.

Also in that issue is a very interesting set of articles on Turkish social psychologist Muzafer Sherif, and his collaborator Carolyn Sherif.  Like Martín Baró, Sherif sought to construct a non-individualistic social psychology, relating human action not to some internal ‘human nature’ but to the social context, itself constructed historically.  The articles, also openly accessible, give some important background information on Sherif and his work, in the context of struggles against fascism and rampant capitalism. See:  Camps, conflict and collectivism;  The unknown Muzafer Sherif and The view from the boys. Retrieving Sherif’s seminal work is very relevant to today’s development of a truly social psychology – one that liberates and is itself liberated.

 

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Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian.
Why is this relevant to libpsy.org?   Because the torture and counter-insurgency methods developed by the USA in Vietnam and perfected in Central America were later exported to Iraq and Guantanamo.  This investigation traces some of the lineage.  For psychology there have been at least three developments from this.
1)  The Central American context of conflict, counter-insurgency, torture and impunity led to Martín-Baró’s proposals on liberation psychology, and of course his own death was the result of this terror complex.
2)  The development of work on the recovery of historical memory, social-psychotherapeutic approaches, use of testimonies,  commemoration, etc. in various locations in Latin America also has its roots in this nexus.  These ideas are also of interest in other locations such as Turkey with its own legacy of State terror.
3)  The “APA controversy” on the involvement of organised psychology and military psychologists in interrogation and torture again comes from this latest phase of the US use of organised terror.
Congratulations to the Guardian and BBC Arabic service for this investigation.

Of related interest, see this article by Victoria Brittain:  Shadow Lives
How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women and Children

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Disappeared Mexican Psychologists: Statement from Critical Psychology Symposium in Turkey

Statement agreed following discussion at the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey).  It has been forwarded to those in Mexico campaigning for a proper investigation into the disappearance of Ana Belén, Diego and Enrique Luis.  The Spanish translation follows the English and a Turkish version is also available.

We, the participants of the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey) in the name of TODAP, the Association of Psychologists for Social Solidarity, want to register our support for the recent calls on the authorities in the State of Michoacán, Mexico and other relevant authorities in Mexico to investigate the forced disappearance of Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda and Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, on 22th July in Paracho after taking part in the Festival of Balloons of Cantoya.

Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga and Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda are psychology students at the Autonomous University of Mexico City.

 We urge the authorities to investigate this case immediately.

 Nosotros, participantes del Tercer Symposio de la Psicología Crítica (Diyarbakir, Turquía) en nombre de TODAP La Asociacón de Psicólogos para la Solidaridad Social, queríamos registrar nuestro apoyo por los llamamientos recientes a los autoridades en el Estado de Michoacán, México y otros autoridades relevantes del país que investiguen la desaparición forzada de Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda y Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, el 22 de julio en Paracho, Michoacán después de participar en el Festival de Globos de Cantoya.

 
Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga y Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda son estudiantes de la carera de psicología en la Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México.
 
Llamarmos que las autoridades hayan investigación del delito sin demora.
16 September 2012

The symposium in Divarbakir was attended by some 370 people and the agreement to send the statement of support made at the final plenary session.  The symposium over two days was sponsored by the municipality of the largely Kurdish city and it focussed on social trauma.  There were two sessions that presented the ideas of Liberation psychology presented by Güneș Kyacı and  Özge Yılmaz, and by Mark Burton.  there was coniderable interst, especially given the similarities between the social contexts of Turkey and much of Latin America.

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