Solidarity with PhD alumna Nil Mutluer

CEU graduate Dr. Nil Mutluer target of repression in Turkey

The CEU Department of Gender Studies expresses solidarity with our PhD graduate, Nil Mutluer, our other students and alumni/ae, and all academics and activists who have been targets of political repression in Turkey in recent years. The following profile reflects what many scholars have been facing in Turkey and is a reminder of the precarious position of students and academics from a variety of countries with the increasing power of populist and nationalist leaders who threaten freedoms of movement and expression for scholars around the world.


Dr. Nil Mutluer received her PhD from the Department of Gender Studies at CEU in 2012 with a dissertation entitled, “Tactics in Between: Gendered Citizenship and Everyday Life of Internally Displaced Men in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul”. She was the Head of Sociology Department at Nişantaşı University in Istanbul until she was dismissed from her position in February 2016 after being singled out by pro-governmental media for signing the Peace Petition “We will not be part to this crime!” along with 2212 of her colleagues. The Peace Petition called on the Turkish state to cease its escalating violence and violations of human rights in Kurdish provinces, and to obey local and international law.

Soon after the publication of the Peace Petition, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, heavily criticized academics, accusing them of terrorism. Following this, the mainstream media started a massive defamation and intimidation campaign against the signatories. Several of them received threats. Four were imprisoned for a month in pre-trial detention on charges of making terrorist propaganda. All signatories are currently facing police investigations, while over 500 have faced disciplinary measures. Many academics who signed the petition have lost their jobs. As of the decree issued in February 2017, the number of dismissals is now more than 300. Others were removed from administrative positions, experienced bullying in their institutions, and had their academic work systemically impeded. Similarly, PhD students have faced severe changes to their funding provisions, some grants were cut or their PhD projects impeded all together. Many students are in custody for criticizing the government. These reactions to the Peace Petition highlight the extent of authoritarianism and harsh repression in the Turkish state.

Currently Nil Mutluer is a Philipp Schwartz Fellow at the Department of Diversity and Social Conflict at Humboldt University in Berlin where she lives with her three year old daughter. The Philipp Schwartz fellowships aim to support threatened researchers and raise awareness of their plight.

Dr. Mutluer is an active member of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (hCA-hYd), the Association for Supporting Women Candidates (Ka-Der), Green Thought Association and P E N. Turkey. She co-produced the weekly sociological and political analysis television show Öte Beri broadcasted on IMC TV. She has edited books and wrote scholarly and non-scholarly articles on gender, nationalism, belief, everyday life and urbanization in various journals and newspapers, among them [“Kemalist Feminists in the era of the AK Party” in The Turkish AK Party and its Leader (Ümit Cizreed.) Routledge, 2016; “Disposable Masculinities in Istanbul” in Global Masculinities and Manhood (Ronald Jackson II, Mural iBalajieds.) University of Illinois Press, 201]. She was a consultant on the 46th Antalya Golden Orange Award (Altın Portakal Ödülleri)-winning documentary “Me and Nuri Bala” (2009, directed by Melisa Önel) which is about the life story of Turkey’s first feminist transvestite stand-up artist, Esmeray.


Photograph by Turkan Kentel