By Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
The removal of Dejan Jovic as chief analyst of President Ivo Josipovic has caused a strong reaction in the Croatian scientific community and encouraged new mutual allegations between the two biggest rivals in the forthcoming presidential elections.
Croatian democratic union (HDZ) president Tomislav Karamarko accused Josipovic that his former chief analyst was “against Croatian independence”, and that Josipovic and Jovic “shared the same ideology”.
Josipovic promptly reminded Karamarko that Jovic had once advised the HDZ presidential candidate Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and HDZ’s Foreign minister Miomir Zuzul, spmething that Grabar Kitarovic’s electoral headquarters strongly denied.
“Dejan Jovic was never an advisor, let alone a chief analyst to Grabar-Kitarovic, while she was the minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration”, announced the head of her election headquarters, Miro Kovac.
He pointed out that Jovic was an external consultant, with whom the contract was signed by the Croatian ambassador in London at the time, with the consent of the previous minister, adding that the contract was terminated by Grabar Kitarovic.
Tihomir Cipek from the Faculty of Political Science thinks Jovic was dismissed because the president in an election campaign cannot afford his chief analyst to question the legitimacy of the Croatian state.
He believes that the academic and political discourse cannot be completely separated, as it’s possible in the natural sciences.
Cipek doesn’t think Jovic’s article should have any repercussions on his academic status, but for him the question is whether “these type of statements, that are legitimate in science, can justify someone’s position as the chief analyst of the president of the republic”.
Dragan Markovina from Faculty of Philosophy in Split, thinks Jovic’s article is quite logical, largely based, and severely reasoned.
“Of course, it is quite clear that Jovic has been removed as political calculations and the witch hunt have been raised. I believe that this case points to something much more serious than whether Jovic will or will not be the president’s analyst, and it is the issue of freedom of speech and academic opinion”, Markovina warned.
The news of Jovic’s dismissal, who is also a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, echoed in the Serbian media and attracted the attention of Serbian political analysts and scholars.
Professor at Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade Slavisa Orlovic said that the manner and explanation of Jovic’s replacement from the position of chief analyst of the Croatian president deserved “the harshest criticism by the entire academic public, in Belgrade and Zagreb too”.
“One of our colleagues, Jovic, without even knowing, obviously paid the cost of the advancing climate in Croatia, which isn’t good neither for creativity nor relations in the region. Regardless of the election or any campaign and the context, there is no justification for this anti-European act of persecution because of a free scientific opinion”, Orlovic noted.
Orlovic recalled that Jovic expressed his views in a scientific article in which, regardless of some reflections to the period of 25 years ago, he opposed Scotland’s leaving the UK argumentatively and scientifically with explicitly stressing that those were his personal views.