Turkish Prosecutors Seek Detentions for 103 Academics of Istanbul Yıldiz Technical University

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Istanbul Police detained at least 103 academics at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday as part of the ongoing crackdown in the wake of the failed coup attempt. Police also searched the academics’ homes and offices, and the suspects were taken to a hospital for routine health checks before being given over to the Istanbul police headquarters, as Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Some academics were said to have been users of a smartphone messaging app called ByLock, which Ankara claims Gülen movement followers began using in 2014. Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.

Critics have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.

Since July 2016, some 110,000 people have been dismissed or suspended in the civil service, army, and judiciary. 36,000 people have been jailed.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide Supports Academics Under Attack in Turkey

The war against academics started long before the attempted coup. On January 10 of this year, a group of scholars known as the Academics for Peace signed an open letter asking for 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 them to be punished. 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.