Lawyer Feyzi Erçin has been teaching “Classical Music in Cinema”, “Classical Music in Auteur Cinema”, “Film Music” and “Voice in Film” at Boğaziçi University since 2013. During the protest process that started after Melih Bulu was appointed as the rector by the Presidency, he took part in the Boğaziçi Watch, stood by the detained and arrested students, and acted as a volunteer lawyer. Naci İnci, who became the rector after Melih Bulu, terminated Erçin’s employment at the university on May 30, 2021. Erçin is also prevented from entering the campus.
Feyzi Erçin was born in 1970 in Istanbul. After graduating from the American Robert College of Istanbul, he graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law. He has been practicing law since 1995. He specializes in transportation and insurance law.
Erçin is also an amateur pianist, classical music writer and critic, and photographer. He has been on the Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation (IKSV) Music Festival Advisory Board since 2010. His versatile personality enables him to teach at Boğaziçi University.
His students at Boğaziçi University once said, “He is an amazing person who brings sweets to his students, rushes to their aid when they are in trouble, and gifts his students with concert and movie tickets. I wish every school had people like Mr. Feyzi.”
The process, which separated Erçin from his students physically but strengthened his ties to them, started when President Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu to the post of rector at Boğaziçi University. Academics, students, and graduates reacted to the appointment, which took place on January 2, 2021. This is how the Boğaziçi Resistance and the Boğaziçi Watch of academics began. Erçin also took his place on the watch and did not leave his students who were detained and arrested alone.
A similar process has taken place during the protests against the Afrin Operation in 2018. A group of students wanted to distribute Turkish delight at Boğaziçi University North Campus following the fall of Afrin to Turkish Armed Forces and FSA on March 19th. Another group reacted to those offering Turkish delight. After the events, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office took a detention decision for 14 students on charges of making terrorist propaganda and protesting the Olive Branch Operation. The Rectorate of the period made a statement and said that the attack against students offering Turkish delight targeted freedom of expression. Feyzi Erçin visited the detained and arrested students in prison. It was his first prison visit as a lawyer. He realized how easy and quick these visits were compared to a relative, and how happy it made the detainees.
Three years later, he was one of the first appear by the students detained for featuring a work at a solidarity exhibition at Boğaziçi University. He received great support from the lawyers of the ÇHD, ÖHD, and Social Law Association regarding the detention processes. While he was only taking on the task of coordinating the first detentions, he started to make statements over time.
Wide audiences got to know Feyzi Erçin when he called out to his detained students at the courthouse, saying, “We will not leave you alone.”
Similar to Can Candan, Feyzi Erçin’s lectures were terminated by the rectorate on May 30, 2021, due to the support he gave to the resistance and his students. When he wanted to open a course in the summer school, they did not allow him on the grounds that he gave too high grades. In the fall semester, it was said that his training was not suitable and that he insulted and humiliated the school administration. Since the same date, he has not been allowed to enter the university campus. Erçin filed a lawsuit on the grounds that the banning of his lecture by the rector was against the administrative law. He asked if there were any obstacles to being admitted to the university and participating in online activities within the framework of the Access to Information Law, but he did not receive a satisfactory answer.
A panel titled “Walls and Borders: Migration, fragility and art” was to be held at Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall on December 3, 2021. Can Candan and Feyzi Erçin were among the panelists, but the event was canceled by the rectorate with two days’ notice.
Erçin’s life completely changed following January 2, 2021. He cannot devote as much time to music and cinema as he used to, he is constantly concerned with the detention and disciplinary proceedings of his students, and he sleeps less. Some nights, he gets sleepless thinking about his students, Berke and Pelit, who are in prison. “I have a harder, more sleep-deprived but better life,” he says. Boğaziçi University administration has opened a disciplinary investigation against nearly 200 students so far.