Mathematical summer school in Turkey closed for "teaching without a permit"

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Black board cordoned off by police tape at Prof Nesin's banned math summer school
Image: Alexandre Borovik.

A mathematical summer school in Turkey run by mathematics professor Ali Nesin has been closed by the authorities apparently for "teaching without a permit" and "founding an illegal institution". The attention of the international scientific community was attracted to this action on the blog of a mathematics professor at Manchester. Alexandre Borovik's "Mathematics under the microscope" blog had previously written in glowing terms about the summer camp at which he also taught. The story was broken with a photo of a "Blackboard under arrest" and carried a photograph of a board covered with advanced mathematics surrounded by police tape. Borovik arrange a petition to the Turkish government signed by numerous mathematicians and scientists around the world, and reported in the Turkish media.

On 10th August 2007 police removed the seals from the doors of the School and it was reopened. But earlier, on 7th August, Professor Nesin was summoned to the prosecutor's office for interrogation on the charge was "education without permission". The prosecutor told Professor Nesin's lawyer that he will open a trial against him in few days under Article TCK 263 of Turkish Criminal Code:

Persons who open or run illegal educational institutions can be jailed from 3 months to 1 year.

Professor Nesin still faces prosecution however he plans to challenge the ruling on the basis of the 27th article of the Turkish Constitution which guarantees the freedom to teach and learn arts and sciences:

Article 27 Freedom of Science and Arts
(1) Everyone has the right to study and teach freely, explain, and disseminate science and arts and to carry out research in these fields.