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Can Candan
job terminated

Can Candan is a documentary filmmaker and an academic who uses the power of cinema to make human rights violations visible. He was prosecuted as one of the signatories of the Academics for Peace declaration. He was tried, and he recorded the process with his camera. Following the removal of Melih Bulu from his post as the appointed rector of Boğaziçi University by the President, the first act of Naci İnci, the acting rector, was to fire Candan. Candan was also barred from entering the university campus.

Can Candan has been in the academy for 26 years now. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hampshire College in the USA, where he became interested in photography and cinema. His first movie was called “Wen”, a silent short portrait of a young woman’s peculiar relationship with horses. In the same year, 1989, he made an activist documentary film called “Boycott Coke”. He received his first award with the documentary “Exodus ” (1991), which documents the migration from Bulgaria to Turkey.

After graduation, he continued his education at Temple University, also in the USA. His doctoral thesis film was the trilingual documentary titled “DuvarlarMauernWalls”, which is about the increasing racism against Turkish people in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Candan returned to Turkey and started teaching at Bilgi University. He later became the department chair and the director of the MA program at Bilgi University’s Film and TV department. He transferred to Sabancı University in 2005 and to Boğaziçi University in 2007 as a full-time lecturer. He gave lectures on documentary film theory, history, experimental cinema, documentary cinema in Turkey, film production, film studies research projects in the Film Studies Certificate Program at the Department of Western Languages ​​and Literatures at Boğaziçi University for 14 years.

He took part in the establishment of “docIstanbul – Documentary Research Center” in 2007.

Between the years 2011 and 2012, he wrote and presented the Documentary Film Hour and Documentary Film Talks programs on IMC Television.

He finished his third feature-length documentary film “My Child” in 2013. It documents how a group of mothers and fathers whose children are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender learned to accept their children as they are, and how they became rights defenders. The film premiered at Boğaziçi and received a lot of attention. It received the “Special Jury Award” at the 3rd Filmamed Documentary Film Festival and the “Best Film Award” at the 15th Thessaloniki International LGBTQ Film Festival.

He was involved in sexual harassment prevention initiatives at Boğaziçi University. He took part in the establishment of Boğaziçi University Commission on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (CİTÖK) in 2012 with the support of the Women’s Studies Club (BÜKAK) and the then-elected rector Gülay Barbarosoğlu.

During the term of the rector, Mehmed Özkan, he officially assumed the duty of academic advisor of Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ Studies Club (BÜLGBTI+).

He was a signatory of the Academics for Peace declaration, which was shared with the public on January 11, 2016. A lawsuit was filed against him on the charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” based on Article 7/2 of the TMK No. 3713. He appeared before the judge at the 35th High Criminal Court at the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan on September 18, 2018. In his defense, he stated: “As a citizen whose rights and freedoms are protected by the constitution of the Republic of Turkey and international agreements signed by the Republic of Turkey, it is impossible for me to accept these accusations.”

The process that resulted in Can Candan’s dismissal from Boğaziçi University began when President Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu to the post of rector. Boğaziçi University academics, students and graduates reacted to the appointment made by Erdoğan with the decree published in the Official Gazette No. 31352 on January 2, 2021, paving the way for Boğaziçi Resistance and the Boğaziçi Academics Watch. Can Candan was participating in the watch, documenting it, and making statements to the press about the process.

Melih Bulu was removed from his post on July 15, 2021, and Naci İnci was appointed as a proxy. On July 16, İnci terminated Candan’s employment at the university. On the same day, Candan shared the communique he received from İnci on his social media account.

His students and academics immediately made statements in solidarity with Can Candan. Nearly 300 documentary filmmakers and academics from 19 different countries, including but not limited to the USA, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland and Sweden, launched an international campaign.

Candan sued Boğaziçi University on the grounds that his dismissal was unlawful.  

On October 11, 2021, with the order of the rectorate, Can Candan was barred from entering the campus from the Aşiyan entrance to give an open-air lecture to his students. Candan recorded this instance on his camera. 

updated: 12/12/2021, 14:42
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