appeal against guest professorship Mesut Yilmaz


Dear colleagues,

Mesut Yilmaz, former prime minister of Turkey, is holding a guest professorship at Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. The Faculty of Social Sciences invited him for the summer term 2003 and the winter term 2003/04. We think that this act of honouring presents a severe political and moral mistake and call the Head of the University to withdraw its invitation.

We ask all of you to support our protest. To do so, you can

a) Sign the following appeal and send it back to us ( We particularly collect signatures from researchers (please sign with your title and University or place of residence) and from organisations.
b) Write directly to the Head of the University and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and express your protest (please find e-mail addresses and fax numbers below).


Appeal: Withdraw the invitation to Mesut Yilmaz.

Between 1991 and 1998, Mesut Yilmaz was Prime Minister of Turkey on three occasions. Subsequently, he was deputy to Prime Minister Ecevit.
During the 1990s, the war conducted by the Turkish military against the population in the Kurdish provinces accelerated dramatically. 30,000 men and women lost their lives, thousands of villages were destroyed, and millions of people were expelled from their communities. The number of injured was endless, as were the numbers of those arrested, raped, tortured or “disappeared” while in detention.
During his time as Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz was at least jointly responsible for those human rights violations in the Kurdish parts of Turkey and in many Turkish cities. Throughout his terms of office, numerous trials and assassinations against human rights activists took place.
In a government declaration of 1996, Mr. Yilmaz explicitly vowed to continue the war in Kurdistan.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has repeatedly condemned Turkey for its human rights violations.
In November 1998 Mr. Yilmaz was forced to resign as Prime Minister as a result of his alleged entanglement with organised crime.
Until November 2002, Mesut Yilmaz participated in the European Convention as the representative of the government of Turkey. His expertise on the negotiation process for Turkey’s accession to the European Union was the principle reason for the Ruhr-University’s invitation. Furthermore, in the opinion of the Head of the University and the Faculty of Social Sciences Yilmaz’ stay will provide the opportunity to open a 'critical dialogue' on the situation of human rights in Turkey.
In our view, because of his responsibility for the most brutal human rights violations, it should have been out of the question to award a guest professorship to Mesut Yilmaz. The Faculty for Social Sciences believes that holders of a guest professorship should be persons of moral integrity. Mesut Yilmaz, however, fails to meet this standard. From the perspective of the victims of torture and their relatives (many of whom are living and studying in Bochum), the declared hope for 'critical dialogue' with Mr. Yilmaz seems cynical.
Yet, in honouring him with a guest professorship over two terms, the university goes even further: The invitation to Mesut Yilmaz represents a lack of moral judgement on the part of the Head of the University. Further, the invitation to Mesut Yilmaz will by no means increase the University’s national and international prestige. Rather, this prestige is now put at risk.
The signatories to this appeal protest emphatically against this appointment to a guest professorship awarded by The Ruhr-University of Bochum to Mesut Yilmaz. We urge the Head of the University and the Faculty of Social Sciences to withdraw this invitation immediately.

The signatories:
Alliance for Human Rights at Ruhr-University, Bochum


Please send individual protests to:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Wagner
Head of the Ruhr University Bochum
UV 3/ 390
Universitätsstr. 150
44780 Bochum
Fax: **49-234–32 14131

Prof. Dr. Ilse Lenz
Dean of Faculty for Social Science
GC 04/
Universitätsstr. 150
44780 Bochum
Fax: **49-234-32 14507

And forward us a copy to: (

Thank you very much for your commitment!
Sincerely yours,

Alliance for Human Rights at Ruhr-University, Bochum
(Students’ Representatives of the Ruhr- University and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Medizinische Flüchtlingshilfe Bochum e.V., Kurdistan AG, IMK Bonn, Promondial – Organisation für emanzipatorische Zusammenarbeit, Eine Welt Formum Bochum, Nord-Süd Büro im Bahnhof Langendreer, Christliche Friedensgruppe Höntrop, Attac Hochschulgruppe, Bochumer Friedensplenum, Karawane für Recht von Flüchtlingen und MigrantInnen)

For further information, please have a look at:
(pages predominantly in German, sorry)