Our living spaces are perpetually threatened by all institutions of the governing political logic. Not long ago, this logic had shown its dark and revanchist face through the clouds of tear gas during Gezi and it’s now re-surfacing on bumpers of bulldozers destroying the Middle East Technical University (METU) campus, one of the few remaining green spaces of Ankara.
What is being presented as a simple re-routing of an expressway is in fact a violent intrusion into the lives of the local communities and devastation of urban space. The illegal destruction started hastily in the dark of the night, barred from public attention and access. What’s worse, the municipality tried to shut down the protests by putting a price tag on the destruction of green space. The area where thousands of trees were destroyed overnight for the road construction is the campus of the University and should have never become the object of any arbitrage and such vulgar exercise of any political power.
This intrusion, orchestrated by the governing political logic, directly targets the very idea of university autonomy. It encompasses the immunity of the material assets of universities as well as their intellectual capacity. In this sense, the violation of the METU campus is also an assault on what’s left of the notion of university autonomy in Turkey.
In Turkey, the politics of escalation normalizes state violence as it criminalizes and marginalizes the opposition in an attempt to isolate it from the society. METU, currently stigmatized as “modern bandits standing in the way of the government” is the epiphany of the marginalization process. This has to come to an end. The state’s violation of our living space is neither ordinary nor acceptable; to oppose and resist such violence is an inalienable human and civil right.
Hereby, we oppose the governing political logic that crushes the autonomy of universities in its entirety, puts a price tag on urban devastation, normalizes state inflicted violence and marginalizes opposition. At the same token, we also protest the current form of institutional politics that is incapable of opening up alternative avenues. Above all, we firmly believe in the search for a new path that can only be achieved through new languages and new life practices.
Ottawa Gezi Platfom
This post is also available in: Turkish