On June 1, 2020, I became the target of a massive cancel campaign in Turkey. The false allegations made in a series of nine tweets on Twitter were seized upon and amplified by pro-government media which branded me a “terrorist pervert”. This led the Chief Prosecutor of the Turkish Republic to start an official investigation regarding the allegations. I had to spend all my savings to legally fight this vicious campaign in three different countries. In the end, I was vindicated. The Lund District Court Criminal Division found Pınar Dinç who posted the original tweets guilty on 6 counts of “gross defamation” and 1 count of “defamation” (out of a total of 11 counts) on October 13, 2021 (B6460-20). This decision was slightly revised, but upheld by the Court of Appeals of Skåne and Blekinge which found Dinç guilty on 3 counts of “gross defamation” and 1 count of “defamation”, and increased the damages she should pay to me by 50 percent (B3866-21). The ruling deemed that “there is no obligation, legal or employment-wise, to submit the information”, and stated that the employee “is convicted of a crime which is punishable by imprisonment”. The defendant tried to appeal this decision as well, but the Swedish Supreme Court decided not to review the case, and the decision entered into legal force on November 3, 2022.
For an evidence-based dissection of the “untruths” Pınar Dinç told under oath in her testimony to the Lund District Court Criminal Division on October 13, 2021, see Gerçekler I: Umut Özkırımlı v. Pınar Dinç and Gerçekler II: Umut Özkırımlı v. Pınar Dinç (Truths I and II. In Turkish and Swedish with English subtitles).
GERÇEKLER II: UMUT ÖZKIRIMLI V. PINAR DİNÇ
CLAIM 1: “I needed to find a new supervisor, a professor for the [Marie Curie FIRE] project and this process wasn’t easy for me. I was a postdoctoral researcher who has been in Lund for one year and Umut was a professor who was working there for seven years. Since people knew that Umut won’t like it and Umut told this to everyone, they were scared.”
FALSE! Pınar Dinç claims that I threatened everyone after I stepped down from the Marie Curie project. That is incorrect. In fact, I am the person who found a supervisor to continue the project. I introduced her to Petter Pilesjö and Lina Eklund in the first place. The supervision arrangements were sorted out before the complaint was filed. On 21 March 2018 — that is, one day before the harassment complaint was filed — Petter sent an email addressed to me and Pınar: “Dear Pinar and Umut. Today, I had a meeting with Umut and last week I met Pınar. We all agree that we have to find a solution regarding the supervision and I’m sure we can come up with something ok/good for all of us. I highly appreciate your professional view/behavior on this! As you know, I am only interested in research related questions and challenges and want to leave all personal things behind”. So on 21 March 2018, Pınar Dinç already had a new supervisor.
CLAIM 2: – “Yes, I did post those tweets [the nine tweets PD shared on June 1, 2020]. When I posted those tweets, I never shared Umut’s name. When they named him, I didn’t like these posts or retweet them not to confirm his name. I didn’t recirculate them. And contrary to what they claimed, when I interacted with other people, those people didn’t mention his name”.
FALSE! Pınar Dinç claims that she didn’t recirculate those tweets or interact with anyone who named me. On June 2, 2020, my name was already made public and started to appear in newspapers and on television. Pınar Dinç posted a tweet on June 2 and said “Support mainly comes from women and people outside Turkish academia. Those who preach us on everything, those academics with solid tenured positions, most men are silent (I absolve those who did speak out). I am not surprised. You say I won’t get dirty if I keep silent. Live with this shame”. She thus called for support and did that by quoting the first of her nine tweets.
On the same night, she interacted with a PhD student and academic based in US who were having a discussion about me, referring to a polemical article I had written about them. Pınar Dinç joined the discussion and said “Oo, I didn’t know that but I know that he was kicked out of a colleague’s room in Lund after shouting I will finish Pınar off and I will deal with those who support her later”. So she mentioned the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and Lund University. A fourth person — a journalist — joined in and said “I am sorry to intervene, but I already told Pınar. I wrote an article after the death of his son without knowing any of this. With what I learned yesterday and today, I realized that the sensitivity we showed during that period was abused. Over a child. Pınar Dinç answered her saying “my dear Funda” and sent her a purple heart. Are there any other Turkish academics at CMES, Lund, who wrote an article about these two specific people and whose son is dead?
CLAIM 3: “They also say I sent two emails in addition to that. Correct, I did send those two emails. One of them is the email I sent to the LSE. You can see in the email that I graduated from the LSE and received my PhD from there in 2017. Therefore, I consider myself as a part of the academic circle there; I feel I have a responsibility towards them”.
FALSE! Pınar Dinç claims that it was “her civic duty” to inform the LSE. It is important to note here that this email was written on 1 October, 2018, hence was the first act of harassment perpetrated after the university’s decision. Dinç also said she sent the email “only to a few people”. The email was addressed to two people, but the Human Resources department, people from other departments as well as the Director of the LSE were copied to the email. It is noteworthy that the other two institutions I was affiliated with in Vienna and Barcelona were also contacted the same day. Similar messages were sent to a Turkish journalist to stop the publication of an interview about Luca and to a colleague in the UK to prevent her from collaborating with me.
CLAIM 4: “Let’s move on to the second email, the email I sent to the European Commission. First, I would like to say that they are considering this as a huge slander case. But Umut himself shared this email — which I sent to a limited number of people — on his blog”.
FALSE! The “limited number of people” Pınar Dinç was talking about were two bureaucrats who are responsible for the Marie Curie project in the European Commission. After such a letter, it is no longer possible for anyone to apply for a grant in the EU.
CLAIM 5: “God knows how many people read that blog post. If you look at the date of this email, you will see that it is after Umut gave my name and surname on June 5  and said ‘this project is mine, Pınar is doing my project’. The email was about that”.
FALSE! As explained on several occasions, Pınar Dinç herself confirmed that the original idea for the Marie Curie project is mine. Here is an exchange from August 12, 2017, the day I came up with the idea: [PD] “Darling, I just called, you found an incredible topic. All links are built in the other direction: environment -> conflict. But we will look at it as conflict -> environment. And not just forest fires”. She continued: “You thought about it through Dersim. When I said “we are legends, we found a good topic”, she replied “you found it”. And let’s add here that the reason I stepped down from the project was a message she sent me on March 7, 2018, via Spyros A. Sofos, where she told me that she would file a complaint of harassment if I do not comply. We were about to go to take our son to Barcelona for a clinical trial at the time, so I caved in.
CLAIM 6: In reply to the question by my legal representative Sebastian Scheiman: “Does the decision of the university say that Umut sexually harassed you?, Pınar Dinç said. “No, and I didn’t say it did, anywhere”.
FALSE! Pınar Dinç wrote the following to the European Commission on June 8, 2020: “I filed a complaint at Lund University against [him] for (sexual) harassment … I feel that I have failed to produce what I was supposed to produce as a Marie Curie fellow, I am extremely upset and I feel that I had to waste such a prestigious grant simply because I had to protect myself from a stalker/harasser in the last 2.5 years”.