PEN Turkey Writers' Association has granted its annual Duygu Asena Women's Rights Award to Emeritus Prof. Ayşe Buğra.

February 22, 2021

"She did not change her usual prudent and humble attitude in the face of the attacks against her personality and gave a lesson of humanity, conscience and decency by saying 'I am sorry for my country'," the association said in explaining why it awarded Buğra.

Prof. Buğra was targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in relation to the protests against his appointment of a rector to Boğaziçi University.

"The wife of the person who is called Osman Kavala and is the representative of [George] Soros is among these provocateurs," Erdoğan said on February 5, accusing Buğra of inciting the protests.

The declaration of PEN TURKEY is as such:

"We present the 2021 PEN Duygu Asena Award with love and respect to Prof. Dr. Ayşe Buğra, who set an example with her existence, studies, books, attitude and identity of an educator and a scientist,

"Ayşe Buğra is a world-class scholar of ours who won the 2015 World Social Sciences Award.

"We are going through a period where the concept of the university is being emptied more and more every day, the education system of our country is drifting away from contemporary and universal values, academic independence is under threat, the principles of the Republic are compromised, and steps of a counter-revolution is being tried to be implemented.

"In this period, Ayşe Buğra, who has the most respected place in the world scientific community, continued devoting herself to her students and educating them despite all the hardships and obstacles she faced.

"Again, in this period, she was subjected to insults, slanders and threats from the political authority, she was targeted and attempted to be humiliated. Her personal rights were attacked, she was wanted to pay a price as a Republican Intellectual and a WOMAN.

"She did not change her usual prudent and humble attitude in the face of the attacks against her personality and gave a lesson of humanity, conscience and decency by saying 'I am sorry for my country'.

"We, as PEN Turkey, share Prof.Buğra Kavala’s sorrow . Yet we are happy to have such a writer, an educator and a scientist who carries the honor to be a women for all the women rights and human rights. We are conscious that her attitude and behavior will also enforce the freedom of thought and freedom of expression in our country. We thank her for accepting the 2021 PEN Duygu Asena Award. “

The award is named after Duygu Asena, a late feminist writer who pioneered the women's movement in Turkey in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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