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In the course of the past year, thousands of Turkish scholars have been fired or suspended as victims of the government’s purge following last summer’s failed coup and a dozen universities have been shut down by decree. It is a repressive atmosphere which is eroding the academic independence of the country.

Academics and intellectuals come to Europe, especially to Germany, complaining about the loss of their home and underlying their fear of a Turkey’s descent into autocracy where a critical mindset is impossible. Actually, before the attempted coup, President Erdoğan vilified the scholars who signed a petition calling for a halt to the government’s crackdown on the insurgency in the Kurdish-majority southeast as terrorist sympathizers.

In 2002, when Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power, the country was modernized, the government repealed the campus ban on headscarves, the number of universities doubled and the spirit of democracy spread all over. Now, 15 years later, the same government is blocking every chance for an independent thinking.

Academics are reported to be disappointed about the current situation; they are worried about their students repeatedly beaten up by ultra-nationalists but they still hope the Turkish academic community will work again as it used to do, without threats and suspensions.


The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Wednesday, 18 January 2017