Friday, April 1, 2016

Dr. Meral Camcı's Letter - written one day before she returned to Turkey

An arrest warrant was issued for Drs. Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy, Muzaffer Kaya and Meral Camcı for a Press Release they read on March 10, 2016 on behalf of Academics for Peace. Drs. Mungan, Ersoy and Kaya were arrested on March 15. Dr. Camcı was in vacation in France at the time of their arrest, she returned to Istanbul on March 30 and was arrested the next day. The following is the letter she sent to her friends the day before her return trip.

Hello Dear Friends, 

Yes, I’m coming back tomorrow. I’m returning from a trip that I had started not to stay away but to come back in the first place. Soon after our press conference, I had come to Paris for a short time to visit my child who is studying here for the last four years. Three days after I arrived here, I learned that they came to my house with an arrest warrant. Even though I was not with them, I lived through from a distance the process of our friends’ detention and arrest both in my mind and in my heart just as you did. It never occurred to me to stay abroad or extend my trip. Following the advice of our dear and valued lawyers, I waited for the result of our first plea to the court for an annulment of this unlawful arrest and for the possibility of our friends’ rightful release. This process was completed yesterday when the court rejected our plea and I booked my return flight: I’ll land Yesilkoy Airport on Wednesday, March 30 at 2.20 pm.

I am writing this statement with a sense of morale and value that our togetherness and solidarity inspires in me. My decision to return is of course taken voluntarily and in all sincerity. From my perspective, this is a decision based on a foregone conclusion. Just as it was inevitable that I signed the [peace] petition and later the press statement. This is as certain as my belief in a country that lives in peace, equality, together in all its differences, and in a democratic country without any buts or ifs. I see the struggle for peace as a process. We are but in one moment of this process – a process that has a past as well as a future.

Against all odds I have not lost hope in this country; we wanted peace and we will stand by our words come what may. We will expose the universities that trample [academics'] rights and we have promised we will transform the universities as well as change this country… This is a debt I feel I have towards the youth, to children and to my students whom I was forced to leave. If this is the price they say we should pay, we will do that with honour and peace of mind because we are in the right. If they jail us, so be it, we will defend ourselves from jail holding our heads high, then we will be released and we will continue in our path.

We will carry this burden in our hearts together my friends … just as we wrote with a friend in our private correspondance. Unless we do not free our minds, it does not matter which side of the wall we are sitting. We will break down those walls and then we will be free. And we will do that by working both from the inside and the outside. Now, it is time for me to be there. All of you are of course familiar with Socrates’s defense. He says “exile is the greatest punishment that can be given to any man,” and I cannot live a life that I have not chosen of my own free will. Because in that case I will not be me. I will stand by my words for peace and I will continue the struggle.

This is the only way for me to be human since last June and to continue being human. This is also the only way I can continue my scientific work, research and production.

With love and in solidarity,