Jailed Turkish Professor—I Got Used to Lynching
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Sedat Laçiner, a renowned Turkish academic and political scientist who was arrested in the wake of a controversial military coup on July 15, 2016, has stated that “I respond to what is said about me, and I don’t run from either prosecution or debate. But the accusations must be a bit rational and fair. I got used to the lynching, but at least the accusations should make sense. Have a heart! I am also a human being.”
The Turkish online news outlet T24 has published a letter sent by Professor Laçiner, who as of March 25 has been in prison for 610 days over alleged links to the Gülen movement, to veteran journalist Hasan Cemal, saying that he wants his previous life back.
“I have worked for decades to serve my country and my people, and I’ve tried hard. I studied at the best universities in the world, and I put forward world-respected studies… In return for all this labor and sacrifice, I was not supposed to be thrown into a deep well. I am sorry and I am worried about my future, even scared. But my fear for my country is greater. It may sound strange to you, but if I fear for myself, I tremble for my country and nation. Sins committed in the past set fire to today, and today’s sins will set fire to our future,” Laçiner said.
Laçiner studied at Ankara University and the University of Sheffield, where he was awarded an MA in international politics with distinction, and King’s College London, where he obtained his PhD. Since 2001, he had been teaching international relations and international security at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University and the National Police Academy Security Studies Institute in Ankara. Laçiner was appointed president of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University in 2011, becoming the youngest rector in Turkey.
Laçiner was editor of the Journal of Administrative Studies and Review of International Law and Politics as well as a regular contributor to TRT and other Turkish television and radio broadcasts. He is also chairman of the Journal of Turkish Weekly, a regular columnist for the Star newspaper and general coordinator of Ankara-based think tank the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO).
He was appointed adviser to the Higher Education Board (YÖK) president, and in 2011 he was appointed president of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (ÇOMÜ) by then-Turkish President Abdullah Gül.
Laçiner is the author/coauthor and editor of numerous books and articles, including “Iraq Global War and Turkey,” “The Iraq Crisis,” “Turks and Armenians,” “The World and Turkey,” “European Union with Turkey, Turkey’s Membership’s Impact on the EU,” “The Armenian Diaspora” and “Britain from a Different Perspective.”
Professor Laçiner was arrested in July 2016 after the attempted coup, and a prosecutor has demanded life imprisonment for him over his alleged ties to the Gülen movement.
The full text of the letter sent by Professor Laçiner to veteran journalist Hasan Cemal through his lawyer can be found here.
*This article originally published on Stockholm Center for Freedom.