ECREA is deeply concerned about continuing suppression of academic freedom and mounting pressures on autonomy of universities in Turkey.
The actions against universities and academics in Turkey begun in the aftermath of the July 2016 failed military coup with forced resignations, large-scale firing of academics (including restrictions of their re-hiring), limiting the freedom of expression and movement and implementation of the ongoing climate of fear.
Last week alone, 330 academics from 23 universities were fired, among them 16 staff members of University of Ankara Faculty of Communication, which has for example now lost 25 academic staff members since September 2016.
The intervention also greatly affected students as many programs, courses and thesis supervisions can effectively no longer be continued.
According to news and our sources, many of the fired academics were signatories of a 2016 petition ‘We will not be a party to this crime!’ which condemned military operations in Eastern Turkey while others were academics who criticized social, economic, political and cultural policies of the current government.
ECREA strongly condemns this and other actions against Turkish academics. Suppression of intellectual freedoms and fundamental human rights, such as freedom of expression, cannot lead to building of democratic, just and prosperous societies. ECREA also condemns the fact that political action against lecturers results in damaging students who can under no circumstances be made responsible for actions or beliefs of their lecturers and supervisors.
ECREA therefore calls upon Turkish authorities to nullify past decrees and acts of political discrimination against academics and refrain from further interventions which would limit academic freedoms and autonomy of universities and contribute to perpetuation of the climate of fear.
In the light of this, ECREA would also like to express its continuous support to our Turkish members and colleagues.