Istanbul Şehir University is in the middle of political crisis as the result of political revenge between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his old ally and former Prime Minister, and the founder of Şehir University Ahmet Davutoglu for leaving the AKP and starting a new party. #SehirHepimizin (ŞEHIR is all of ours) Initiative launched a campaign on Change.org protesting the decision of placing a precautionary lien on all bank accounts of Istanbul Şehir University as the sanction of this political crisis.

Information taken from the campaign page is given below:

About #SehirHepimizin Initiative:

#SehirHepimizin Initiative is a group of students from different walks of life who united due to placing a precautionary lien on all bank accounts of Istanbul Sehir University immorally and unlawfully. Its aim is to inform the public and to change the direction of the issue while hoping to provide a solution as soon as possible.

About Istanbul Sehir University:

  • İstanbul Şehir University (SEHIR) was founded in 2008 by the decades-old Foundation of Sciences and Arts (BISAV) as a foundation university.
  • SEHIR considers being independent of all kinds of ideological and political views as the basis of producing and sharing knowledge at a global scale.
  • SEHIR is a successful educational institution and a public legal entity owning a mission to raise universal, productive and open-minded individuals for the world.

What’s the issue?

For the first time, a precautionary lien is brought to an educational institution in Turkey. In addition, unlawful acts were constantly ignored throughout the process. Over 5 weeks, especially of the students from all over the world, lives of thousands are ruined by this uncertainty.

How did it emerge? 

On 14 October 2019, SEHIR officially announced to the public that Halkbank had placed a precautionary lien on all of its bank accounts and that it cannot access any of its assets.

However, this situation had a long-going background and several motives underneath:

– As a start, there were 15 lawsuits filed by several different organizations for the abolition of the allocation on the land allocated to SEHIR, and the University only started the construction on the land on Dragos Campus only after all of these cases were concluded in its favor. 

– SEHIR started to receive investment loans from Halkbank in order to build up the Campus by showing the land allocated as collateral.

– After the final ruling was given in all lawsuits, a 16th lawsuit was opened by TMMOB to cancel the transfer of the land, although the lapse of time for filing the lawsuit was exceeded.

– Halkbank began to break their agreements made with the university one by one under the pretext that the latest unlawfully and improperly filed lawsuit decreased the value of SEHIR’s collateral:

  • First, Halkbank has announced that it will not give the rest of the agreed amount of loans.
  • Later, the university declared that Halkbank had frozen SEHIR’s all Halkbank accounts due to one delay of an interest payments because SEHIR was not able to fully obtain the loans as previously agreed.
  • Since most of the university’s assets are in Halkbank accounts, ŞEHİR had been put into a difficult financial state.
  • Three months after freezing the accounts, Halkbank appealed to put a precautionary lien on all the bank accounts of the university, claiming that the collateral was at risk due to the lawsuit. 
     

A university having no access to any of its bank accounts means: 

  • Inability to make daily expenses such as water, natural gas, electricity and internet bills; which simply means preventing a university to maintain its everyday functions.
  • Inability to pay employee salaries and hundreds of students’ scholarships; which is the same as laying a hand on lives of about 8,000 people (of which are more than 1,000 from 87 countries) that are supported by or a part of the university.
  • Inability to access research funds such as TUBITAK, ERASMUS, EU; which equals to preventing any kind of research to take place, which might contribute to the country or the world.

Giving way to these attempts of financially failing this university results in: 

  • Confronting 8,000 people with an inevitable uncertainty in their lives, in terms of their education and future.
  • Ignoring the fact that more than 1,000 chose to come to this country relying on Turkey’s law system and education morals, which also means ignoring their existence.
  • Destroying the safe space of a community that can live together in diversity.
  • Weakening people’s confidence in the Turkish law.

Say no to this injustice and unlawfulness, and be a part of our voice!

Students have not been able to healthily focus on their studies due to a complication created God knows why.

Don’t let the destruction of law and education morals in Turkey!

 #SehirHepimizin Initiative

P.S.: “SEHIR Hepimizin” means “SEHIR is all of ours”: not only of SEHIR students, but of everyone believing in law and the value of education.