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Endangered Scholars Worldwide Urges Support for Turkish Higher Education

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

As the sixth month of the emergency rule ends in Turkey, the government does not seem willing to end its witch-hunt, which has resulted in the dismissal of more than 120,000 civil servants--including nearly 7000 academics--from their jobs and the closure of 15 of the 193 universities across the country.

The war against academics in Turkey began long before the coup attempt. On January 10, 2016, a group of scholars calling themselves Academics for Peace signed an open letter calling on the Turkish government to end its unlawful and violent practices in the Kurdish provinces. The next day, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the letter’s organizers and 1128 signatories of treason and terrorist propaganda, calling for their immediate punishment. Subsequently, the Turkish judiciary system initiated public prosecutions under Turkish antiterror laws, alleging defamation of the Turkish state and accusing signatories of spreading “terrorist organization propaganda.” Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YOK) ordered university rectors to commence disciplinary investigations, and hundreds of suspensions, dismissals, and imprisonments followed. As of January 6, 2017, another 41 academics who signed Academics for Peace letter have been dismissed from their positions in several universities.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned for the future of academic freedom, scientific research, and higher education in Turkey. Thousands of academics have lost their jobs, and hundreds among them have had to leave the country seeking refuge. According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, 100 to 150 of the signatories of the Academics for Peace letter have fled to Germany.

Given these developments, ESW feels the need to highlight the urgency of the situation of academic freedom in Turkey and to show solidarity with the thousands of Turkish academics who have lost their jobs as a result of their peaceful activities and the exercise of their freedom of speech.

Please click on the link to see the list of academics from Turkey who have been dismissed from their jobs with the latest decrees.


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