Mehmet Altan, a prominent professor who was detained along with his brother Ahmet Altan, was remanded in custody after a hearing on his links with the Gülen Movement on September 23. Mehmet and Ahmet Altan were both arrested on September 12 over appearing on a Turkish TV channel a day before the July 15 coup attempt. According to the official statement issued by the court, Mehmet Altan implied that "a coup was imminent in his statements." The ruling said that Mehmet Altan was known for his proGülenist views and tried to change public perception in support of a coup.
The court has charged Mehmet Altan with "attempting to remove the government or attempting to obstruct its work," Anadolu, the official news agency, reported. He was also charged with "being a member of a terrorist organization."
The War in Academics in Turkey
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned over recent reports from Turkey regarding the plight of the academic community. Since July 15, we have received numerous reports that Turkish officials have taken harsh measures against universities and other educational institutions of higher education. Universities are being shut down and faculty and administrators taken into custody, denied the possibility of leaving the country.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns 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 freedom of scholars and academics.
We call upon the United Nations General Assembly and member governments to put pressure on the Turkish government and to express concern over the actions taken against universities and higher education establishments.