In the year since the attempted coup in Turkey, a “staggering” number of academics have faced criminal investigations, detentions, prosecutions, mass dismissal, expulsion and restrictions on travel, according to an open letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, signed by Robert Quinn, executive director of Scholars at Risk or SAR, the New York-based scholar rescue network, who demanded a reversal of the measures.
On 13 July, 302 more academics were dismissed from their jobs under a new decree under the crackdown ordered after the failed coup attempt a year ago. On 10 July more than 40 academics and university workers were arrested at two Istanbul universities.
Quinn said the evidence strongly suggests academics are facing retaliation for the non-violent exercise of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of association.
He said: “These actions are not only attacks on individuals, but on the higher education sector in Turkey and on Turkish society generally. If not quickly reversed, these actions will undermine Turkey’s status as an international centre for learning and intellectual exchange.”
Quinn urged Erdogan to “direct all necessary steps to reverse these dangerous and destructive actions”, in which more than 7,500 academics have been targeted and nearly 60,000 students have been displaced.