Can fear explain the loathing that the victims of this ‘academic cleansing’ are exposed to, often by their own colleagues? Could insecurity justify the complicity?
It was a “call for papers” like all others. “On behalf of the Turkish Political Economy Society (TPES)”, said the organizers of the 5th TPES Interdisciplinary Workshop on Turkey and Latin America in Comparative Perspective, “we would be happy if you would consider submitting an abstract and help us spread the word by forwarding the CfP to other scholars who may be interested.”
Many probably did, among them Yasemin Yılmaz and Orçun Selçuk, two PhD candidates from The City University of New York and Florida International University respectively, who saw this as an opportunity to share their work with and get feedback from their peers and senior academics in Turkey and beyond.
Both received a positive reply from the organizing committee on 27 April 2017 and were invited to present their papers at the two-day workshop that was going to take place on 20-21 July at Koç University, Istanbul under the auspices of the Center for Research on Globalization, Peace, and Democratic Governance (GLODEM). “We are unable to offer any funding for travel and accommodation”, the generic invitation letter stated, but neither Yasemin nor Orçun cared as they were happy to be part of a scholarly event in one of Turkey’s most prestigious universities, in front of an audience that included scholars from other, equally prestigious, universities such as Sabancı, Bilkent and Özyeğin, to name but a few.
The tentative programme of the workshop they were sent about a month later had their names on as presenters and asked them to submit their full papers on ‘Self-Coups and Presidential Power Grabs in Peru and Turkey’(Selçuk) and ‘Elite Interests and Media Suppression: The Cases of Turkey and Venezuela’ (Yılmaz) by 6 July.