ISTANBUL—A hundred Istanbul Bilgi University academics have released a statement over the administrative blocking of a conference on the Armenian Genocide, declaring that they considered the blocking of the conference unacceptable in terms of academic and democratic freedoms.
Signed by “Istanbul Bilgi University academicians,” the statement reads: “We find any preventive intervention carried out on any academic activity at foundation or state universities, about the Armenian Genocide or any other topic, by political, administrative or economic powers unacceptable in terms of academic and democratic freedoms.”
The scholars reminded how in 2005, a conference that for the first time critically discussed the Armenian Question was blocked at Boğaziçi University and was then hosted at Bilgi University, adding, “the fact that, ten years later, and again as a consequence of various pressures, this conference cannot be held at Bilgi University, and a reverse migration needs to take place, is undoubtedly a regression in terms of our university’s institutional identity and its academic freedom report, and it has caused damage that needs to be repaired.”
The statement also referred to claims that pressure for the blocking of the conference had come from some associations based in the USA, and demanded that the issue be clarified.
Stating that “Academic freedom requires the highest level of protection precisely when controversial issues which have not been met with general recognition are opened to debate,” the declaration went on to criticize the stance of Bilgi University with the words: “The administration of Bilgi University unfortunately does not take side with academic freedoms, but rather with the boundaries imposed by the dominant doctrine.”