Istanbul Police detained at least 103 academics at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday as part of an ongoing crackdown in the wake of the failed coup attempt. Police has also searched the academics’ homes and offices and the suspects were taken to hospital for routine health checks and then to Istanbul police headquarters, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Some were said to have been users of a smart-phone messaging app called ByLock, which Ankara says Gulen’s followers began using in 2014. Earlier this month, 23 Turkish academics who were allegedly using ByLock, were detained last week as part of a witch-hunt targeting of the Gülen movement.
Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt. Critics, however, 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 and 36,000 people jailed.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide Supports Academics under Attack in Turkey
This war against academics started long before the attempted coup. On January 10 of this year, 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, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the signatories and the organizers of treason and called for them to be punished. The Turkish judiciary system initiated public prosecutions under Turkish anti-terror 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, to both of which Turkey is a 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.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide calls 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 in Turkey.
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:
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)
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanı (President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly)
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Adalet Bakanı (Justice Minister of the Republic of Turkey)
Türkiye Yüksek Öğretim Kurulu (YÖK) Başkanı (President of the Council of Higher Education)
011 90 312 266 47 59
Turkish Ambassador to the United States
Fax: +1 202 612 67 44
Milli Eğitim Bakanı (Minister of National Education)
Atatürk Bulvarı No: 98 06650 Bakanlıklar Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 4188289, +90 (312) 417 70 27