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The Purge Continues—Turkey Dismisses Another 786 People from Universities in Post Coup Crackdown

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

On January 6, 2017, the Turkish government issued three new emergency decrees that dismissed 8,390 civil servants from their positions in several state institutions, including the ministries of Health and Justice, the Office of Law Enforcement, the Armed Forces, and the Turkish Council of State.

649 academics, along with more than a hundred administrative staff members, lost their positions at several universities. 41 of the dismissed scholars were members of the Academics for Peace initiative.

Since July 2016, more than 120,000 people have been dismissed while nearly 44,000 have been jailed and more than 80,000 detained. With the latest decrees, the number of academics who have lost their jobs across the country has reached a total of 6,986.

Friday's decrees also shut down 83 civil society associations. The real estate holdings of these associations, as well as the confiscated private companies’ assets, were put at the disposal of state-appointed trustees. Hundreds of firms, many of which smaller provincial businesses, have been seized in the postcoup crackdown.

Another significant change introduced by these decrees is concerned with citizenship laws. The new regulation enables authorities to strip Turkish nationals who live abroad of their citizenship if they do not come back to Turkey within three months of being summoned by the Turkish state.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide Supports Academics Under Attack in Turkey

The war against academics started long before the attempted coup. 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 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 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, both to which 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 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. 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 by Turkish officials against universities and higher education establishments.

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.

Please appeal to the following:

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

Office of Prime Minister


06573 Ankara, Turkey

Administrative Aide, Ozel Kalem Mudurlugu Fax: ++90 312 403 62 82

Public Relations Department Fax: ++ 90 312 422 26 67

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı (President of Turkey)

İsmail Kahraman

Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanı (President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly)

Bekir Bozdağ

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Adalet Bakanı (Justice Minister of the Republic of Turkey)

Yekta Saraç

Türkiye Yüksek Öğretim Kurulu (YÖK) Başkanı (President of the Council of Higher Education)

011 90 312 266 47 59

Serdar Kılıç

Turkish Ambassador to the United States

Fax: +1 202 612 67 44

İsmet Yılmaz

Milli Eğitim Bakanı (Minister of National Education)

Atatürk Bulvarı No: 98 06650 Bakanlıklar Ankara, Turkey

Fax: +90 312 4188289, +90 (312) 417 70 27


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