Gençay Gürsoy (1939) graduated from Istanbul University’s Medical Faculty, with a specialization in neurology, in 1963. He worked in the same faculty as a specialist, associate professor and professor. He led the establishment of a fully equipped neuroradiology laboratory in the same school in 1980. He also studied and conducted research on neurology abroad for 4,5 years.
Following the 12 September 1980 coup d’état, he was expelled from his position and was not able to work at any public institution from 1983 onwards. In 1990, he was reinstated in line with a ruling of the Council of State. Until being reinstated, he took part in BİLSAK and EKİN-BİLAR. In 1984, he stood trial for signing the ‘Petition of Intellectuals,’ but was later acquitted. Gürsoy also published a book called Bir Resimaltı (A Caption). The book consists of his articles published in national and international scientific journals, book chapters, monographs, and opinion pieces he wrote in newspapers and magazines on political and social issues between 1975 and 1990.
Gürsoy, who was the former President of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) Central Council, also served as the General Secretary and President of the Istanbul Medical Chamber. Today, he continues to be an honorary board member of the TTB. He served as the head of the Neurology Department of Istanbul University’s Medical Faculty. He is among the founders of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and Human Rights Foundation (TIHV). He was the President of the Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Arts (TAKSAV). He was one of the founders of Union for University Assistants (ÜNAS), Association for All University Assistants (TÜMAS), Freedom and Solidarity Party, Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), Peace Initiative, Peace Assembly, Peace Bloc, and Citizens’ Initiative. He retired in 2006.
Gençay Gürsoy is an Academic for Peace who signed the “We Will Not Be Party to This Crime” petition, for which he stood trial. New evidence was added to his file during his third hearing. When Gursoy and his lawyer returned from the adjournment, the Presiding judge announced that they had added an interview he gave at t24.com.tr and some statements made on his personal Twitter account. Gursoy’s lawyer Meric Eyuboglu objected the addition of new evidence that was found during the adjournment and was added to the file without thorough investigation. She added: “We don’t know about these documents that have been added to the file. Why were these documents selected? We need time to examine and comment on these documents.” The court refused the request with the assumption that “the request aims to prolong the trial.”
The court announced its verdict and sentenced Gürsoy to 2 years and 3 months in prison for “propagandizing for an armed terrorist organization.” His sentence was not reduced “considering his negative attitude and behavior in the hearing, and based on the conviction that the defendant does not feel any remorse.”
The judge said the following when he handed down the 1 year and 15 months prison sentence:
“As a result of the court’s evaluation of how the crime was committed and its specifics, the statements the defendant made on the petition while he was still the president of the Turkish Medical Association, his statements defending and embracing the petition in the interview he gave to t24.com.tr on 15 January 2016, and his tweets on his social media account, which also defend and embrace the petition, the court used its discretionary power not to sentence the defendant on the lower limit and has decided that the defendant shall be sentenced to 1 year and 15 months in prison considering the specifics of the crime, the status of the defendant at the time of the crime, the impact of the petition on the public after the petition received the support of the TTB, the defendant’s intention to accept and embrace the petition, which shows the intensity of the defendant’s intention and the level of threat it has caused.”
The decision will be finalized following the decision of the Court of Appeals.
After the Constitutional Court’s decision for the retrial of the Academics for Peace, the hearing of Prof. Gençay Gürsoy was held at İstanbul Courthouse 37th Heavy Penal Court, on July 7, 2020. The court ruled for the acquittal for Gürsoy.
ACADEMICS FOR PEACE TRIALS
The petition “We will not be a party to this crime” was signed by 1128 academicians from 89 universities on 11 January 2016 calling for permanent solutions for peace and for an end to the violence targeting people of the region, especially during the curfews, after the resumption of the armed conflict following the collapse of peace process.
On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a petition entitled ‘We will not be party to this crime’(Bu Suça Ortak Olmayacağız). They demanded the state to abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the Kurdish in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre and Silopi and other places in the Kurdish regions
This petitionwas part of the Academics for Peace initiative, founded in 2012 in response to a Kurdish prisoners’ hunger strike. Hundreds of academics, from fifty universities, came together and decided to work for a peace process in Turkey. They wanted to contribute by sharing knowledge and producing information on topics like peacebuilding, education in native languages and the destruction of the environment through war.
Well over 2,000 academics have now signed the petition. Hundreds of them have been fired from their jobs, their passports have been cancelled and confiscated, several were physically and verbally threatened. Over 450 academics have been arrested and have stood trial. They we accused of ‘propagandising on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ under the Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
Despite the repression, threats and harassment, a great majority of academics have continued to stand behind their initial statement and collectively support each other.
On 26 July 2019, the Constitutional Court found that the right to freedom of expression was violated in the charging of ten academics for signing a peace petition. Following this ruling, the first academic was acquitted on 6 September 2019. As of January 8, 2020, the number of academics acquitted in 56 court cases is 567.
*Click here for current situation.
Prof. Füsun Üstel was released on July 22, 2019 by the suspension of the execution.
* Click here for the hearing statistics.