Statement of Support for Ayşe Gül Altınay

Yazar / Referans: 
The London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Gender Studies

Ayse Gul Altinay, Sabanci University in Istanbul was yesterday sentenced to 25 months in prison for ‘willingly and knowingly supporting a terrorist organisation as a non-member’. This is because she signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime” in support of colleagues, democracy and academic freedom. Ayse is a cultural anthropologist, Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Centre and editorial board member of the European Journal of Women’s Studies. As her colleague and friend Ulrika Dahl has put it, she is ‘she is a fierce activist, brilliant teacher and scholar and an incredible source of inspiration for many of us.’

In Turkey and elsewhere, activists and thinkers are consistently under attack, and they need our support. As a lifelong feminist and peace activist, Ayse continues to advocate for non-violent protest and dignity in the fact of aggression. Here is the statement that Ayse read out in court on May 21st, 2019:

"Every individual, every family living in this geography has suffered from past wars, migrations and experiences of violence. In terms of the cycle of violence that trauma studies alerts us to, we live in a challenging, vulnerable geography.

Yet, what we make of these past experiences of pain is up to us...

Are we going to turn our pain into more violence, hate, pain and injustice, or into steps that multiply life, beauty, love, peace and justice?

This is the main question that shapes my work and my life.

I firmly believe that we all have new steps we can take towards healing the traumas that have been transmitted from one generation to the other, and to break out of the cycles of violence that we are living through."