Over 1100 Turkish scholars signed a petition requesting better treatment of the Kurds and asking for a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish situation. Many of those who signed the petition were terminated from their jobs, detained on criminal charges, and investigated. Four scholars have been arrested. CCS has written to President Erdogan requesting that he intercede and release the professors who have been arrested, cease the investigation of the others and reinstate all professors who have been terminated from their positions in their respective universities.
April 7, 2016
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı (President of the Republic of Turkey)
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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 we joined over 30 other scholar-support organizations around the world in writing to express our collective concern at “reports of widespread pressure 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 concern because four scholars who spoke out on March 10 have now been arrested and are in prison. The scholars were detained, they gave statements and were taken to an arraignment hearing. They were arrested and are in jail awaiting trial. One of these, Professor Meral Camci returned to Turkey, by her own will, went to the prosecutor’s office voluntarily and she was still deemed a flight risk and is in prison.
The professors are:
- Esra Mungan, an assistant professor of psychology at Boğaziçi University
- Muzaffer Kaya, a social studies assistant professor formerly at Nişantaşı University
- Kıvanç Ersoy, a mathematics associate professor at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
- Meral Camcı, a translation studies assistant professor formerly at Yeni Yüzyıl University.
Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and has signed documents for the rights of its citizens: 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. These require the government of Turkey to defend the rights to freedom of expression and association, rights which are also guaranteed in the Turkish Constitution. International human rights obligations, academic freedom standards, and Turkish law require such protection.
In January, we noted “the important role that Turkey, Turkish universities and Turkish scholars have historically played” in global scholarship. That reputation is now challenged, and we urge you to reverse this course and re-evaluate Turkey’s current position towards these academics for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. We ask that the four scholars, noted above, be released and returned to their previous positions in the universities in which they were previously employed.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Copies To:Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
Office of the Prime Minister
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Via fax to: (+90 312) 417 0476; (+90 312) 403 62 82; (+ 90) 312 422 26 67Gülay Barbarosoğlu
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Hasbahçe Cad. No.88
34406 Kağıthane / İstanbul
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Via email to: firstname.lastname@example.orgProf. Yalçın Karayağız
Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
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Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Hüsnü Gündüz
Rector, Yeni Yüzyıl University
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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
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- [In Depth] Turkish scholar who eluded arrest describes ‘witch hunt’ (science.sciencemag.org)
- Leading Turkish Journalists Face Life in Prison (libertyblitzkrieg.com)
- Turkish minister pressed on case of charged academics (universityworldnews.com)