Photo Credit: Bianet
Amid the escalating economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the AKP government in Turkey tightens its authoritarian grip. On January 1, 2021, the government launched a new attack against academic freedom, targeting one of the most prestigious universities of the country. With a midnight executive decree, the Turkish president Erdogan appointed Prof. Melih Bulu the new rector of Bogazici University.
The decision was met with outrage from faculty members and the student body, who interpreted Bulu’s appointment as an assault on academic freedom and institutional autonomy. Since the notorious 1980 military coup d’etat, Bulu happened to be the first rector chosen from outside the university community. In the first three days of protests, 40 students and alumni were taken into custody. As of January 7, at least 22 people have been released under legal probation.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns the Turkish government’s recurring attacks on academic freedom and the constitutional autonomy of higher education institutions in Turkey. The ongoing tensions in Turkey have had a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and continue to pose a grave threat to higher education on a national scale. ESW urges the Turkish authorities to respect and guarantee the autonomy of higher education in Turkey and to implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties, and to drop any charges against the accused arising from their nonviolent exercise of the rights to expression, association, and assembly.
In support of the Bogazici University community, please sign the petition.