The activity ‘Nature, Society and Science in the Clamp of Capitalism’ was organized in Kocaeli dedicated to Prof Dr Onur Hamzaoğlu who is in prison since February 16th.
The activity took place at Kocaeli Higher Education Association (KYÖD) upon the call of the initiative #OnurBarışÖzgürlük İnisiyatifi. Speakers at the event that was participated by large audience were Assistant Professor Melike Yavuz, former Kocaeli Deputy İzzet Çetin, former Ekos-Der President Ercan Teker and Prof Dr Cem Terzi.
While Prof Dr Cengiz Erçin was moderating the discussion there was a slide show of photographs taken by the students of Hamzaoğlu. Guests were offered candies as Prof Hamzaoğlu did for any visitor to his room.
‘HAMZAOĞLU NEVER GAVE UP HIS WORK IN DİLOVASI’
The first speaker was Assistant Professor Melike Yavuz who was the assistant of Hamzaoğlu after the Survey in Dilovası. Yavuz said she started as an assistant in the Department of Public Health in Kocaeli University in 2005 and gave information about the process of research conducted in Dilovası by the team under the lead of Hamzaoğlu. Stressing that Hamzaoğlu never gave up the mission of medicine for the people and Dilovası research in spite of all odds Yavuz said, “I had the opportunity of working with Onur Hoca. The research in Dilovası launched before my assistantship led to significant repercussions. The Mayor of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality called Onur Hoca ‘charlatan’, followed by lawsuits and the platform “We defend our Onur” was created. He never gave up his work in Dilovası.
‘ONUR HOCA WAS SILENCED FOR DOING SOMETHING’
The next speaker was İzzet Çetin, Kocaeli Deputy for the 22nd Parliamentary Term and former President of Harb-İş Union. Starting by saying that he was the member of the Dilovası Investigation Commission in that period while in the parliament, Çetin said they wanted to silence Onur Hoca and that is why he is in prison now. Telling about his initiative while a deputy from Kocaeli to lodge a petition for the establishment of a parliamentary commission, Çetin said they came out with 276 pages long report: “The work by Onur Hoca and his colleagues was debated in the parliament. We identified 29 problems and suggested 29 solutions, though in a painstaking process. No one should be surprised by the arrest of Onur Hoca as a figure teaching his students with the honesty of a scientist and engaged in work for the benefit of people. A scientist must defend what he believes as correct. What we call as scientist must take sides with people, humanity.
“Turkey is very poorly governed in this period. There is no trade union activity, academics are expelled from their duties, journalists are imprisoned, and students’ right to education is compromised. There must be certain things to be done in such periods. Onur Hoca, on his part, was silenced for doing something. We are waiting for our fate in silence. We must do something, leave aside meaningless strife within and stand side by side.”
‘THEY INCREASED CAPACITY IN SPITE OF COMMISSION REPORT’
The third speaker was Ercan Teker, President of Dilovası Ecology and Health Association (Ekos-Der) established after Dilovası survey conducted by Hamzaoğlu and his team: “Dilovası was much different years ago. Starting from 1965, industrial plants started to be established here one after other. In 1985 there were 13 factories here and the population was 3,000. Then emerged other plants, Organized Industrial Zones were established and the population reached 40,000. Industrial establishments mushroomed without any preliminary assessment. Giant plants were constructed on most fertile parts of the area. Then we have various problems in the context of environmental pollution and public health.”
Also mentioning the establishment and activities of Ekos-Der, Teker continued: “We established our association following the survey by Onur Hoca. We organized panel discussions, demonstrations and various other activities. So Dilovası became an item of agenda in the country. The parliamentary report said Dilovası was saturated with industrial establishments, but industrialist further increased their capacity. 3 more Organized Industrial Districts (OSB) were launched and one of these is about coal storage and trade. The Metropolitan Municipality added its waste disposal site to these. The mainstream media approach to Dilovası brought in more harm than benefit. The problem in Dilovası is too big to be solved by a small association or only by local people. The people of Kocaeli must commit to the solution of this problem.”
‘CANCER RELATED DEATHS CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH APPROPRIATE POLICIES’
The last speaker in the activity was Prof Dr Cem Terzi. In his presentation titled “Nature, Society and Science in the Clamp of Capitalism: Case of Onur Hamzaoğlu” Terzi said “Hamzaoğlu is one of the rare academics with universal values growing within this society. He is the honour of this country and will remain so.” Terzi pointed out that there are other cases in the world similar to the case of Hamzaoğlu referring to such names as Dr Irving Selikof, Dr Herbert Needleman, Dr Takeshi Nirayama, Dr Benjamin Santer and Dr Ignacio Chapela. Terzi added that these names had to face various attacks and forms of harassment for not giving up telling the truth and cited the words of Selikof before his death “Fewer young people would have died if I were engaged in politics more.” Terzi continued: “That is how they accused Hamzaoğlu: engaging in politics… But cancer deaths can be prevented by engaging in politics.”
“There can be no society shaped totally by tyrants. You build cruelty further if you keep living by refusing the truth, reality. Cruelty is cancer deaths. The refusal of truth is to make legislation for a report prepared 10 years ago.”