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Petition—The War on Academics in Turkey

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

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.

Source: BBC

This war against academics started long before the attempted coup. On January 10 of this year, a group of scholars calling themselves Academics for Peace signed an open letter calling on the Turkish government to end its violence in the Kurdish provinces. The next day, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the signatories and the organizers of treason and called for them to be punished. The Turkish judiciary system initiated public prosecutions under Turkish anti-terror laws, alleging defamation of the Turkish state and accusing signatories of spreading “terrorist organization propaganda.” Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YÖK) ordered university rectors to commence disciplinary investigations. Numerous suspensions, dismissals, and imprisonments followed.

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.

Please join The New School, the home of the original University in Exile and Endangered Scholars Worldwide, in calling on Turkish authorities to:

  • cease their attacks on Turkish academics and universities;

  • free those who have been arrested without cause;

  • allow those who wish to travel freely outside the country to do so; and

  • make Turkish universities once again the havens of freedom of inquiry and free expression that all great universities must be.

Updated tally of suspensions, detentions, and arrests affecting ‪‎Turkey‬'s‪ ‎Higher Ed‬ucation sector: (Last Update: Aug 3rd, 2016, 11:00 AM, EST)


Abant İzzet Baysal University: 30 academics and four administrative staff.

Adnan Menderes University: 19 academics, 11 administrative staff.

Afyon Kocatepe University: 40 academics, 16 administrative staff.

Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University: 11 academics, an administrative staff.

Atatürk University: 22 academics, eight administrative staff.

Balıkesir University: 31 academics.

Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University: Nine academics, three administrative staff.

Bayburt University: 5 academics, 11 administrative staff.

Bozok University: 76 academics, 38 administrative staff.

Bülent Ecevit University: 20 academics, 11 administrative staff.

Celal Bayar University: 84 academics, 18 administrative staff.

Cumhuriyet University: Seven academics.

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University: 152 academics, 20 administrative staff.

Dicle University: 56 staff, a rector.

Dokuz Eylül University: 2 academics, an administrative staff.

Düzce University: 16 academics.

Erciyes University: 16 academics.

Gazi University: Rector has been suspended.

Gaziosmanpaşa University: 17 academics, five administrative staff.

Hakkari University: Hakkari University: 12 staff.

Iğdır University: 10 academics, one administrative.

İstanbul University: 95 academics.

Katip Çelebi University: 65 academics, 15 administrative staff.

Sütçü İmam University: 60 academics, 19 administrative staff.

Karabük University: 20 academics, six administrative staff have been suspended.

Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University: Two academics, four administrative staff.

Niğde University: 181 staff including 124 administrative.

Ondokuz Mayıs University: 23 academics.

Pamukkale University: 43 academics and administrative staff.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University: Nine academics and two administrative staff.

Sakarya University: 45 academics.

Selçuk University: 167 academics, 10 administrative staff.

Siirt University: 13 academics, two administrative staff.

Uşak University: Nine academics.

Van Yüzüncü Yıl University: Due to coup attempt investigation seven academics, 10 peace declaration signatory academics.

Yıldız Technical University: Rector has been suspended.

Yalova University: Rector has been suspended.

Detentions and arrests:

Atatürk University: 10 detentions.

Celal Bayar University: 20 detentions.

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University: Seven arrests.

Çukurova University: 19 detentions.

Dicle University: 70 detentions, an arrest.

Gazi University: One detention.

Harran University: 21 detentions.

İstanbul University: 31 detentions.

Kanuni University: One detention.

Kırklareli University: 5 detentions.

Yalova University: One detention.

Universities that have been shut down: 15

Altın Koza (İpek) University(Ankara)

Bursa Orhangazi University (Bursa)

Canik Başarı University (Samsun)

Selahattin Eyyubi University (Diyarbakır)

Fatih University (İstanbul)

Melikşah University (Kayseri)

Mevlana University (Konya)

Şifa University (İzmir)

Turgut Özal University (Ankara)

Zirve University (Gaziantep)

Kanuni University (Adana)

İzmir University (İzmir)

Murat Hüdavendigar University (İstanbul)

Gediz University (İzmir)

Süleyman Şah University (İstanbul)


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