Academic dismissed from Bilgi University over ‘insulting Erdoğan’

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Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğlu, an academic at the Bilgi University in İstanbul, was dismissed from the university over allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a lecture.

The university released a statement about the issue, while Balıkçıoğlu chose to remain silent.

“We want to inform the public about Prof. Dr. Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğlu, who insulted our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a lecture on June 15, 2016, which was also mentioned on social media. … She was dismissed immediately after our rector’s office found out about the incident. Our rector’s office also immediately gave instructions to analyze the incident and launch the necessary legal investigations about it,” the university said in the statement.

Pro-government media organs targeted Balıkçıoğlu before and reported her saying, “Everything started with him saying ‘One minute’ and challenging the West. .. He’s challenging everybody, including Putin. Unfortunately, I’m a citizen of Turkey and I don’t say this to insult anybody, but we’re living in society that is rude, vulgar and that acts with the understanding of ‘I can do anything I want.’ And he [Erdoğan] is the most rude and vulgar person that acts with that understanding. Therefore, he is able to identify himself with people in the streets that feel inferiority complex. Because, what is it that he feels before his Western brothers? Inferiority complex,” about Erdoğan during a lecture.

The academic reportedly called Erdoğan “dictator” and “rude” during one of her lectures and was dismissed after students complained about her to the rector’s office.

Cases of “insulting” Erdoğan are based on Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which states that anyone convicted of insulting the president should serve a prison term of between one and four years.

More than 1,800 cases have been started against people accused of insulting Erdoğan since he came to office in 2014, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced. Those who have gone on trial include celebrities, journalists, activists and even schoolchildren.

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