Sentenced Academic Astel: ‘We are at Where Word Begins, Not Ends’

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  • May 7, 2019
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Academics have gathered for Prof. Fusun Astel whose 15-month prison term for signing the Peace Declaration was approved by the court of appeals.

Academics have gathered for Prof. Fusun Astel, a signatory of the Peace Declaration whose 15-month prison term was approved by the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice 3rd Penal Chamber.

Speaking at the event, Astel said, "Many academics wanted to make their voices heard by coming together with the demand for peace. I think this voice was very disturbing for some circles. But I want you to know this: We are not at the point where the word ends, but begins. As citizens, as individuals, we will raise our demand for living in peace."

Astel will serve 11 months in prison according to the Execution Regime. She is expected to go to prison this week.

"We send off Fusun to prison"

Prof. Zeynep Tul Akbal, who was discharged from her job at Bahcesehir University, read a statement in the name of the Academics for Peace:

"Over the last three years we have lost our jobs in hundreds, we have been placed on the dismissal lists of decree laws, and on black lists. Why? We should not forget that the price we have paid is a reflection of a much greater price.

"It is not only members of parliament, journalists, academics, doctors who declared that "war is a public health problem" and other prisoners of thought that pay the price of defending peace, defending life itself. The price we pay is the sign and voice of a much greater loss. Today, to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who pay a price for the demand they made for peace, is to carry a drop of water

to the fire - against the destruction brought on by this system that has declared war on peoples, women, workers, children, forests and animals. Now, before this blaze consumes us all, in the name of life, in the name of peace, we send off our dear colleague Fusun Astel to prison.

Our other thirty-three colleagues who also received prison sentences which have not been postponed are in our thoughts. Yes, we are worried for them, but we stand strong, well aware that what we speak is the truth. We refuse all charges outright, and we stand witness. The demand for peace is not a crime but a responsibility, and we continue to demand peace. We will continue to stand here every week, lend an ear to the words of peace in thousands of hearings, and to spread the word. The prison days of the beautiful people of this country are not our loss, but our heritage."

What happened?

Prof. Dr. Zubeyde Fusun Astel from Galatasaray University was sentenced to 1 year 3 months in prison in April 2018. The penalty of Prof. Dr. Astel was not deferred on the grounds that she has not demanded deferment of the announcement of the verdict and that she has not made "a statement of penitence."

The 3rd Panel Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice in March upheld the prison sentence for having signed the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by Academics for Peace.

About Zubeyde Fusun Astel

Prof. Dr. Zubeyde Fusun Astel is an academic at Galatasaray University. She completed her undergraduate studies at Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences. She received her Master's degree from the University of Johns Hopkins in Italy in 1980-1981 and started working as a research assistant at Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics.

She completed her PhD at the Faculty of Political Sciences of Ankara University in 1987. Becoming a lecturer at Galatasaray University, Astel has published a series of articles in Turkey-based and international journals of social sciences. Her articles have mostly focused on the history of Turkey, nationalism and issues of identity.

Source: English Bianet