Mehmet Altan, a prominent professor who was detained along with his brother Ahmet Altan on September 12, was remanded in custody after a hearing on his links with the Gülenist Movement, on September 23. Mehmet Altan and Ahmet Altan were both arrested on September 12, over appearing on a Turkish TV channel a day before the July 15 coup attempt. According to the official statement issued by the court Mehmet Altan appeared on a TV show on July 14, and implied that "a coup was imminent in his statements." The ruling said that Mehmet Altan was known for his pro-Gülenist views and tried to change public perception to be supportive of a possible coup.
The court has charged Mehmet Altan with "attempting to remove the government or attempting to obstruct its work," the official news agency Anadolu reported at the time. He was also charged with "being a member of a terrorist organization," referring to the movement of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The War in Academics in Turkey
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned over recent reports from Turkey regarding the plight of the academic community. Since July 15, in the days following the attempted coup, we have received numerous reports that Turkish officials have taken harsh measures against universities and other educational institutions of higher education. Universities are being shut down and faculty and administrators taken into custody and denied the possibility of leaving the country.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned about the detention of and professional retaliation against academics and human rights activists in Turkey in response to their exercise of the rights to academic freedom, free expression and free association, conduct that is expressly protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to both of which Turkey is a party. The ongoing tensions in Turkey have a profoundly destructive effect on academic freedom and represent a grave threat to higher education on a national scale.
We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide urge Turkish officials to honor their constitutional obligations to protect the institutional integrity of universities and the academic freedom of scholars and academics.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide calls on the United Nations General Assembly, and member governments, to put pressure on the Turkish government and express concern over the actions taken by Turkish officials against universities and higher education establishments in Turkey.