Turkish Scholars in the US Face a Difficult Decision on Speaking Out

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Henri J. Barkey, a Turkish professor of international relations at Lehigh University, will no longer board a flight that passes over the country where he was born, let alone land there, out of fear that he’ll be arrested. He doesn’t speak to anyone in Turkey because he’s worried they’ll face repercussions for associating with him.


Mr. Barkey, who is also director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has taken those precautions since he was accused of helping to plot an attempted coup last July that failed to overturn the government of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Though he may never return to Turkey, Mr. Barkey, who is also an American citizen, has decided to continue to voice his criticism of the government there. He has written op-eds about Turkish politics and the accusations against him in The Washington Post and The New York Times and has remained active on Twitter.