Updated: May 1, 2019
Arrest warrants have been issued for 44 academics from Istanbul University, 29 from Selcuk University, and 12 from Abant İzzet Baysal University over FETÖ/PDY probe.
On August 19 Turkish prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 85 university academics suspected of links with US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
29 academics have been detained so far. A large majority of the detainees are from Istanbul University and Selcuk University, and they include Selcuk University's dean professor Hakki Gokbel. Selcuk University is in the city of Konya in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey, about 160 miles south of the capital, Ankara.
The Turkish intelligence service have seized computers and data files from professors' offices. Endangered Scholars Worldwide has reached out to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's office for more information.
Erdogan has long accused cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, of running a "parallel network" inside government institutions and the military. Gulen has denied those allegations and condemned the coup attempt.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned over the plight of the Turkish academic community. Since 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 are being taken into custody and denied the possibility of leaving the country.
This war against academics started long before the attempted coup. On January 10 of this year, a group of scholars named the Academics for Peace signed an open letter asking the Turkish government to end its violence in the Kurdish provinces. The next day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the signatories of treason and called for their punishment. 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 (YÖK) ordered university rectors to commence disciplinary investigations. Numerous suspensions, dismissals, and imprisonments followed.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns 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, both to Turkey is 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 urge Turkish officials to honor their constitutional obligations to protect the institutional integrity of universities and the freedom of scholars and academics.
We call on the United Nations General Assembly and member governments to put pressure on the Turkish government and express concern over the actions taken against universities and higher education establishments.
Please join The New School, 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.