Swedish academic Tomas Hammar releases a statement expressing concern about Şahin Alpay's continuing imprisonment and calling for his release
Swedish academic Tomas Hammar, who worked with columnist and professor of political science Şahin Alpay during the latter’s years in Sweden, has released a statement calling for his release.
Hammar, professor emeritus and former head of Stockholm University Centre for International Migration and Ethnic Relations (CEIFO), said “Alpay's columns are not terror-actions but the comments of a good teacher explaining what is going on in the social, economic and political life of Turkey,” adding that Sweden was worried about his ongoing imprisonment.
Alpay, a former columnist for a number of publications including the shuttered Zaman daily, has been in prison since July 2016 on coup and terrorism charges. He faces three aggravated life sentences on coup charges and an additional prison term of up to 15 years on terrorism charges.
Hammar’s statement about Alpay is as follows:
Statement about Journalist Sahin Alpay, PhD and professor of political science.
When Sahin Alpay first came to Stockholm in the early 1970s, I was head of an ambitious research project on ”political resocialisation of immigrants”, a project which Sahin joined. We have since stayed in close contact, and during several years I have had the favour of reading his interesting columns in Today's Zaman. Based on this long experience, allow me to make the following comments.
In 1980, when Sahin Alpay presented his doctoral dissertation in the social science faculty of Stockholm University Sweden, I had the great pleasure of being supervisor of his dissertation. He had organised long interviews with a great number of Turks living in the Greater Stockholm area, and he had after a few years completed his work in an excellent manner. He had in good Swedish written an interesting and learned analysis of how Turkish immigrants understood and participated in Swedish politics. His dissertation was very well received. It has unfortunately not been translated into Turkish.
Since his long time period in Sweden Sahin Alpay has stayed in close contact with all his friends in Stockholm at the university, as well as among journalists and politicians. He is today known in the Swedish press as a very close friend, a ”Swedish Turk”. Sweden is worried. Sahin Alpay's wellbeing is of great concern to us! Many thoughts and many statements are in these days made in his favour.
Sahin Alpay's columns are not ”terror-actions” but the comments of a good teacher explaining what is going on in the social, economic and political life of Turkey. Being well informed about European and Scandinavian developments, he has conveyed to me and others a much better understanding and a rich insight into what is going on.
Sahin Alpay has always been an opponent against all sorts of a coup d'état. He has hoped for progress in Turkey's negotiations with the EU, and most of all he has written and spoken in favour of liberal democracy, the rule of law and freedom of the press. None of his many columns and articles has been charged with support of terrorism. He has committed no crime. He has written his columns with the belief that freedom of expression is assured in Turkey by human rights treaties and by the constitution. He must be released now!
Tomas Hammar,Professor emeritus, former head of Stockholm University Centre for International Migration and Ethnic Relations (Ceifo)