Prominent professor and social scientist İştar Gözaydın, who was arrested on charges of alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement in late December, has denied allegations from a secret witness who claimed that the academic was employed by Gediz University upon an order from the Gülen movement, according to a story in the Hürriyet daily on Friday.
The secret witness claimed that Gözaydın was hired by Gediz University despite an objection from the university’s then-rector, Seyfullah Çevik, because the university’s former rector, Adnan Yeşildal, who is allegedly linked to the Gülen movement, asked for her employment by the İzmir-based university.
In her testimony Gözaydın, who used to head the sociology department, said she was invited to the university by rector Yeşildal.
“He told me they wanted me to join their academic staff and invited me to İzmir to discuss the issue,” Gözaydın said in her testimony.
Gediz University was shut down by government decree along with thousands of other educational institutions in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15. A former Fulbright scholar, Gözaydın had worked as a research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and is also among the founders of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a Turkish-based human rights organization.
In the last general elections, Gözaydın applied for consideration as a deputy candidate from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Turkey has arrested thousands of academics, judges, prosecutors, journalists, and businesspeople in an unprecedented purge launched following July 15.
Over 135,000 people have been dismissed from positions in the public sector.