Dr. Fikret Baskaya, Professor of Economic Development and International Relations, and Founder and Chair of the Turkey and Middle East Forum Foundation, was charged with “Propagandizing for a Terrorist Organization” and is facing five years in prison.
November 20, 2019
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President of Turkey
Office of the President
Fax: +90 312 417 0476
Dear President Erdogan:
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.
We write today to express our grave and urgent concern for Dr. Fikret Baskaya, Professor of Economic Development and International Relations and founder and Chairman of the Turkey and Middle East Forum Foundation. Dr. Baskaya is the author of several books and articles on development economics. He also wrote a regular newspaper opinion column. Dr. Baskaya has been charged with “terrorist propaganda” for what would usually be considered a citizen’s simple expression of their views. This charge is from a single article that was published in November 2016 and for which he is facing imprisonment of up to five years.
This goes against many Human Rights agreements to which Turkey is a party: the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (which guarantee freedom of expression), as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and Turkey’s own Constitution. Peaceful criticism of the State’s policies cannot reasonably be said to meet the criteria of encouraging terrorism.
CCS, at this time is asking that you carefully review Dr. Baskaya’s case, dismiss the charges and release him. There is urgency to this request in that Dr. Baskaya goes to Court on November 22, 2019 at Ankara’s 21 Heavy Criminal Court.
Dr. Baskaya is extremely talented and will readily serve your country and the community. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Mr. Abdulhamit Gul
Minister of Justice
06659 Kizilay, Ankara