US Citizen and NASA Scientist Detained in Turkey in the Aftermath of Failed Coup

Updated: May 1, 2019

Serkan Golge, a 36-year-old NASA physicist of Turkish descent, was arrested on August 6 and formally accused of involvement with the Gulen movement, which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey. Golge has also been accused of spying for the CIA.

As a senior research scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Golge has studied the effects of radiation on astronauts aboard the International Space Station since 2013. He has helped create models that predict the risk of cancer from galactic cosmic rays and has analyzed data from particle detectors on the space station. At Jefferson Lab he worked on the PEPPO experiment to generate polarized beams of positrons.


Golge traveled to Turkey in late June to visit family with his wife and two sons.


Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned about the arbitrary detention of Serkan Golge in response to his exercise of his rights to academic freedom, free expression, and free association, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is party. The ongoing tensions in Turkey have a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and represent a grave threat to higher education on a national scale.