Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi, Must Not Honour Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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Prof. Talat Ahmed
The Vice Chancellor
Jamia Millia Islamia University
Dear Prof. Talat Ahmed, Sir,
Subject : Appeal to Reverse Jamia Millia Islamia University’s Decision to Confer an Honorary Doctorate on Recep Tayyip Erdogan
We, students, alumni, faculty and well wishers of Jamia Millia Islamia University Delhi are deeply disturbed at reports that the Jamia University is planning to felicitate the Turkish president Racep Tayyip Erdogan with a degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) during the course of his upcoming state visit to India.
We condemn this move, if it is true, and urge you and the university authorities to cancel this decision before it is too late. We say this with reason. Erdogan, who has won a flawed and fraudulent plebiscite in order to crown himself the unchallenged dictator of Turkey, is a toxic influence in Turkish public life, in West Asia and in the world at large. He has stifled dissent, cracked down on the rights of working people,women and minorities in Turkey and is conducting a brutal war on the peoples of Kurdistan.
He is destroying universities and intellectual life, and poisoning them with Islamist politics in ways that mirror, and indeed currently surpass the venality of the Modi regime’s Hindutva inspired assault on universities and institutions of higher learning and research in India. It is not surprising that tyrants like Modi and Erdogan should affirm each other, but there is no reason for a university like Jamia Millia Islamia which has traditions, though much weakened with time, of democratic and open intellectual life, to endorse a brutal and cynical politician with dictatorial ambitions.
Turkish society is vibrant, open, secular, and in the end will, we are sure, defeat the designs of Erdogan and his cronies. If Jamia Millia Islamia University is to live up to its responsibilities of being a friend of the Turkish people (with whom it has historic ties) it should refuse to endorse and affirm the Erdogan regime.
We sincerely hope that you will reverse the decision to honor Erdogan with an honorary doctorate, (if indeed there has been such a decision). if you do not, then, because of our solidarity with the people of Turkey, we will never forgive you and we will have no option but to publicly shame you for the dishonor you will have brought to Jamia Millia Islamia University.
(Students, Faculty, Alumni and Well Wishers of Jamia Millia Islamia University)
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