Behice Boran

Sosyolog, Akademisyen, Siyasetçi

01 Mayıs, 1910
07 Ekim, 1987
Michigan University

Sociologist, academist, politician and the last leader of Turkish Laborers’ Party (Born 1 May 1910, Bursa – Death 7 October 1987, Brussels/ Belgium). She completed her   secondary education in Istanbul / Arnavutköy American Girls College. She entered Istanbul University, Department of Philosophy but left it unfinished and started to teach in Manisa with American Girls College. Later she completed her higher education in USA with a scholarship she won. After completing her PhD of Sociology in Michigan University she returned to Turkey in 1939 and was appointed as associate professor in Department of Sociology in Ankara University, Faculty of Language and History-Geography (DTCF). She was the first female student to complete a PhD in USA.

She was not accepted to university with the excuse: “There is no empty position”. She even accepted to be within the cadre of servants but was refused with the reason “There is no empty position among servants, either”. She applied to the Minister of National Education of the period, Hasan Âli Yücel, and was appointed associate professor. In the same time she joined the publication activities of “Yurt ve Dünya” and “Adımlar” magazines. Meanwhile the dean of DTCF Prof. Enver Ziya Karal gave a report to Ministry of National Education on Assoc. Prof. Behice Boran, Assoc. Prof. Pertev Naili Boratav and Assoc. Prof. Mediha Berkes. According to this report the mentioned associate professors promised articles to “a magazine which is published in Istanbul and whose political view could not reconcile with scientific thinking” and this situation creates problems for the education at university. The mentioned magazine was “Görüşler” published by Zekeriya Sertel. Halil Onan, general director of higher education, also gave a report to the Minister of National Education Hasan Ali Yücel about that the mentioned associate professors were unfavorable.

After these writings, on the 15th of December 1945, some academic members – among them Behice Boran – were discharged from active education and subordinated to Ministry. Upon this, these people applied to Council of State which canceled the decision of discharge by common consent. When these three academic members who were accused of being communists returned to university, some incidents happened. Upon some nationalist reactions an investigation was launched about Pertev Naili Boratav, Behice Boran, Niyazi Berkes and Muzaffer Şerif Başoğlu. The mentioned academic members were put on trial. Boran and Berkes were condemned because of malpractice, but this decision was abolished by the Court of Appeal. Nevertheless according to the proposal discussed on the 5th of July 1948 in TBMM these academic members were removed from the academic cadre which made Behice Boran leave academy.

     Boran later published with Niyazi Berkes, Adnan Cemgil and Pertev Naili Boratav “Yurt ve Dünya” magazine. Then she left here and started to publish with Muzaffer Şerif Başoğlu “Adımlar” magazine. Meanwhile she married the translator Nevzat Hatko. Within two years she established Turkish Association of Pacifists and became the head of it. Because of a declaration she published during the Korean War, she was condemned to 15 months imprisonment. During her conviction she gave birth to her son Dursun (1951). Boran remained arrested in 1953 for a case related to TKP. In 1962 she became a member of Turkish Laborers’ Party (TİP) which was established after the military coup of 27 May, was elected a parliament member from Urfa in general elections of 1965 and entered the parliament (1965-69).  She represented Turkey in European Parliament for some periods.

She took a contrary attitude after they came in disagreement with Mehmet Aybar within TİP about the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Behice Boran supported the Soviet Union. She was elected party leader of TİP in its fourth major congress. After 12 March (1971) TİP was closed and Behice Boran was condemned to 25 years imprisonment. She was released in 1974 and then TİP was reestablished. She remained arrested for 25 days as party leader of TİP which protested the curfew on the 1st of May 1979. She was kept on custody at her home together with members of all parties closed after the military coup of 12th of September 1980. Upon sickening she went abroad. An investigation was opened about her and her party. Since she did not answer the call to homeland she was removed from citizenship (1981) and settled to Belgium.

Behice Boran was in the middle of certain efforts abroad, however she could not avoid TİP’s division and dismantle. She took part in activities of uniting Turkish Communists’ Party (TKP) and TİP abroad. She died in Brussels two days after the declaration of union made by both parties’ administrations (1987). Her corpse was brought to Turkey and inhumed in Istanbul after a ceremony in TBMM.

Behice Boran who also wrote poems and who realized one of the first field studies in Turkey with her researches of villages was a very good analyst in the field of sociology. She had numerous works in this field and was a very valuable sociologist.           


SOCIOLOGY: Toplumsal Yapı Araştırmaları (1945), Türkiye ve Sosyalizm Sorunları (1968), Savunma (Türkiye Sosyalist Hareketi Tarih Dizisi / Belgeler, İstanbul 1992).

TRANSLATIONS: Devlet Adamı (From Plato, 1944), Harley - Voysey Mirası (From Granville-Barker, 1946), Sardalye Sokağı (From John Steinbeck, 1964), Hürriyet Yolu (From Howard Melvin Fast’ 1966)  



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