Facts Concerning the Resignation of Prof. Quataert from the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Turkish Studies
- The ITS was founded in 1983.
- According to its By-Laws, the primary objective of the Institute is to increase knowledge of Turkey, its people, culture and history among the people of the United States by supporting educational research, scholarship and publications in the field of Turkish studies.
- The ITS has been successful in its efforts and its works have contributed to the further development of relations between Turkey and the United States.
- The ITS’ affairs are managed by its Board of Governors.
- The Board of Governors is composed of Turkish and American academics and businessmen known for their expertise in their fields. The Board of Governors meets periodically and acts by a simple majority. As befits a quintessentially academic institution, the ITS and its Board of Governors seek to operate transparently and objectively.
- As the Honorary Chairman of the ITS Board, the Turkish Ambassador’s only right is to attend the meetings of the Board of Governors and to offer, if need be, his views on matters related to its governance. As the Honorary Chairman, the Turkish Ambassador lacks the prerogative to vote and have no authority to appoint or remove any board member or approve or reject any grant request.
- With a letter dated December 13, 2006, the then Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prof. Donald Quataert informed the Board of Governors, including the Honorary Chairman, of his decision to resign from the ITS Chairmanship.
- With the attached letter belowaddressed to Prof. Quataert, dated January 18, 2007, the Turkish Ambassador, as Honorary Chairman, expressed his regret regarding this decision, underlined Prof. Quataert’s important contributions to the ITS and mentioned his sincere wish to maintain their close friendship into the future.
- Claims alluding to any influence that the Turkish Ambassador may have exerted over Prof. Quataert to urge his resignation are unfounded and misleading. Neither the Turkish Government nor the Turkish Embassy have ever placed any pressure upon the ITS, for such interference would have violated the principle of the academic freedom, which the Turkish Government and the Turkish Embassy earnestly and consistently uphold. The Turkish Government and the Turkish Embassy will be the first to defend ITS from any such pressure.
- Contrary to recent assertions, the Turkish Ambassador did not call Prof. Quataert to condemn him for a book review he had written in which he opined on the events of 1915. Rather, following the publication of that book review, the Turkish Ambassador called Prof. Quataert to enquire into the reason for his change of opinion on that historical dispute, as Mr. Quataert had previously not considered that the events of 1915 constituted genocide. Prof. Quataert replied that the book review was being misunderstood. The Turkish Ambassador then suggested to Prof. Quataert that if he was being misunderstood, then he should naturally correct this misunderstanding in writing. The Turkish Ambassador expressly added that whatever decision Prof. Quataert would make, both on correcting the misunderstanding and on his interpretation of history, he would respect it. Professor Quataert did not act on the Ambassador’s suggestion.
- It is important to note that, during the Turkish Ambassador’s conversation with Prof. Quataert, absolutely no mention either of the ITS’ funding or of the subject of Prof. Quataert’s continued service on the ITS board was made.
- Professor Quataert’s December 13, 2006 resignation, therefore, was completely voluntary.
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