To date, the Turkish authorities have terminated the employment, requested resignations, failed to renew contracts or sent files to the Higher Educational Council of 91 Turkish academics. 513 face disciplinary action resulting in temporary suspensions, and legal process have been initiated against 418. The numbers are continually growing.
CCS has written to the Turkish authorities requesting that they cease these practices, release all academics being held, restore jobs to those who have been terminated or suspended and restore freedom of speech to its citizens. Turkey has long been a major hub of quality education. We hope that it will remain that way.
July 6, 2016
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Office of the Prime Minister
Via facsimile +90 312 417 0476
Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
On January 21 of this year CCS joined over 30 other scholar-support organizations around the world in writing to your predecessor, Ahmet Davutoglu, to express our collective dismay at “reports of widespread pressures on members of the Turkish higher education and research community” (including investigations, arrests, interrogations, suspensions and termination of positions), in apparent violation of internationally recognized principles of academic freedom, free expression and freedom of association; principles on which quality higher education and research depend.
We, now, write with even greater dismay because these pressures have intensified, as investigations, suspensions, terminations, and arrests of academics have continued. These actions have had little legal basis, and seem to be aimed at silencing any political disagreement with the Turkish government.
Many scholars have been fired or dismissed from their University positions, in violation of their academic freedom and their rights to freedom of expression. It is our understanding that, to date, 91 persons have either been terminated, contracts were not renewed, been forced to resign, or had their files sent on to the Higher Educational Council with a demand for removal from service. Additionally, 513 academics are facing disciplinary action resulting in temporary suspensions, and legal processes have been initiated against 418, thus far.
For example, Zeynep Sayın Balıkçıoğlu, academic at Bilgi University in Istanbul, was recently dismissed for allegedly making “vulgar and rude” statements about President Erdogan during a lecture. Her dismissal occurred before an investigation into the statements was launched by Bilgi University.
Others have also lost their jobs for signing the Academics for Peace petition, a violation of their rights to peacefully express their beliefs.
These include, among many others not named herein:
- Halil İbrahim Yenigün, an Associate Professor in the Political Science and International Relations Department at Istanbul Commerce University
- Ekrem Düzen, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Izmir University
- Six academics at Nişantaşı University :
- Prof. Dr. Melih Kırlıdoğ (Head of Department of Management Information Systems)
- Prof. Dr. Selim Eyüpoğlu (Department of Cinema Television)
- Assist. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya (Department of Social Services)
- Assist. Prof. Dr. Çetin Gürer (Department of Sociology)
- Assist. Prof. Dr. Nil Mutluer (Head, Department of Sociology)
- Assist. Prof. Dr. Dilşa Deniz (Department of Sociology)
These scholars, and any others who have been criminally charged or dismissed from their positions should be immediately and unconditionally reinstated with charges dismissed.
Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and has signed the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This requires the government of Turkey to defend, not attack, the rights to freedom of expression and association, rights which are also guaranteed in the Turkish Constitution.
In January, we noted the important role that Turkey, Turkish universities and Turkish scholars have historically played in global scholarship. That reputation is now at risk, and we strongly urge you to reverse this course and to end these ongoing, baseless attacks on academics for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Copies to:Prof. Dr. Nazım Ekren
Istanbul Ticaret Üniversitesi
Değişim Programları Koordinatörlüğü, B-308
Sütlüce Mahallesi, İmrahor Caddesi, No: 90, Beyoğlu
34445, İstanbul Turkey
Via fax to: +90 212 320 70 44Prof. Dr. Kayhan Erciyeş
Gürsel Aksoy Bulvarı No: 14
Via fax to: +90 232 224 09 09
Via email to: email@example.comCan Uysal
Hasbahçe Cad. No.88
34406 Kağıthane / İstanbul
Via fax to: +90 212 565 25 25
Via email to: firstname.lastname@example.orgSerdar Kılıç
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the United States
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Via fax to: (+1 202) 612 67 44
Via email to: email@example.com