Int. Academic Community Speaks Out

La justice turque entame le procès des universitaires, manifestation à Bruxelles

 Un seul chef d’accusation, des dizaines d’audiences jusqu’en avril. A Bruxelles, on manifeste.

Date et lieu du crime ? “Le 11 janvier 2016, propagande pour une organisation terroriste”, entame l’acte d’accusation dressé par le procureur en chef d’Istanbul. Derrière cette lourde accusation, se cache l’un des procès les plus emblématiques de l’ère Erdogan, allié aux nationalistes turcs du MHP.

Sept mois avant la tentative de coup d’État, il a trait à la signature par 1128 universitaires turcs d’une pétition appelant à renouer le dialogue avec les Kurdes, à un moment où la guérilla du PKK avait relancé l’option militaire contre l’armée turque, laquelle déployait ses blindés dans les villes à majorité kurde. Read moore

Alors, que fais-tu à présent ? by Funda Cantek

Dans ma jeunesse, quand je ne pouvais plus dominer l’hyper-activité cérébrale, un héritage génétique, je récitais les poèmes que je connaissais par coeur, l’un après l’autre. Ensuite, j’ai appris dans un livre de souvenirs que j’ai lu, qu’une personne politique gardée longtemps en isolement, persécutée en étant laissée sans livre, sans crayon ni papier, avait fait la même chose pendant cette période. Il n’est pas si facile de dominer l’activité cérébrale !

Un des poèmes que je récitais pour moi même, était celui d’Edouard Galeano. Ces vers sont extraits de ce poème : “Vivre, rester debout / est cette petite victoire / rester vivant / pouvoir être joyeux malgré les adieux et assassinats… / A la fin, nous nous sommes habituéEs à la douleur / et la joie demande plus de courage que la tristesse” Read more

Open letter – Re: Sweeping actions against higher education

professionals in Turkey

Your Excellencies:
I write to express ongoing, grave concern about a large number of scholars in
Turkey who face criminal charges solely as a result of the nonviolent expression of
ideas; specifically having signed a petition in January 2016 (the so
-called “Peace Petition”), criticizing government policy in the southeast of the country. As several of these scholars’ trials are scheduled to begin this week, I urge you to take any action practicable to reverse the dangerous and destructive course of the past two years,
by dismissing the charges against these scholars and ensuring full protection within
Turkey of human rights, including due process, freedom of expression, freedom of
association, and academic freedom. Read more


Trials Begin in Turkey for Academics for Peace

by  • 

International solidarity is crucial at this time when our colleagues are facing criminal trials

On December 5, 2017, the trials began for those who signed the Academics for Peace petition in January 2016. Conducted by High Criminal Courts in Istanbul, these trials focus on a single individual at a time. Currently 148 trials are scheduled through to May 2018, with new hearings expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months. But the indictment is the same for all of them. Each signatory is charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” and if found guilty, each will face a prison sentence of up to seven and a half years. Read more

In Turkey, academics asking for peace are accused of terrorism


Last week the trials began in Istanbul of those who signed the Academics for Peace petition in January 2016. A total of 148 trials are scheduled through to May 2018, with new trials expected to be announced in the near future. Each focuses on a single individual, but the indictment is the same for all of them. If they are found guilty, each signatory faces a prison sentence of up to seven-and-a-half years. Read more

Great Solidarity On The First Day Of Hearings – Michael Löwy – Raymond Haroutioun Kévorkian – Silke-Maria Weineck – Joan Cocks – Terry Pinkard

Thanks to the international solidarity and cohesion of the scientists, the Turkish Public Prosecutor’s Office was unable to enforce its indictment. In desperation, the court has first postponed the lawsuit to April 12. The other court hearings take place as planned. Therefore, it has become even more important to show solidarity. Anyone who wants to, could send a video message, which we will perform both at the congress “academics freedom and politics” as well as to the colleagues in Turkey and to the press forward.

Noam Chomsky’s Statement to Turkish trial against academics for peace

The penal case against the signers of the Academics for Peace petition is a shocking miscarriage of justice, which friends of the Turkish people can only view with dismay.  The wording of the indictment, throughout, makes it clear that the case is an assault against fundamental rights of free expression that should be zealously safeguarded.  To take only one example, the signers are accused of calling on the government “to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage.” These are entirely reasonable appeals, quite standard in free societies, and very natural and praiseworthy on the part of concerned citizens.  Those who feel that the petition misrepresents facts have ample opportunity to respond in a civilized manner.  There is nothing in the petition that supports terrorism in the slightest way.  The tortured attempt of the prosecution to distort a principled appeal for peace and justice into support for terrorism should not be tolerated in a society that values freedom and basic human rights.

Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor (emeritus), MIT
Laureate Professor, U. of Arizona

Prof. Michael Löwy – CNRS Paris -video support for academics in Turkey – December 6th 2017


Prof. Raymond Haroutioun Kévorkian video support for academics in Turkey – December 6th 2017

Prof. Silke-Maria Weineck video support for academics in Turkey – December 6th 2017

Prof. Pinker (Harvard) video support for academics in Turkey – November 2017

Prof. Joan Cocks, Mount Holyoke College: ”I express my strong support in this email for Turkish intellectuals and all others suffering from state repression”





I strongly support the Turkish intellectuals’ heroic protest against the Turkish government’s obviously fraudulent attempt to paint the petitioners as “terrorists.” This is a typical move made by authoritarian governments to misstate the positions of its opponent or to outright lie about them. It is an attempt to shut down free intellectual inquiry in Turkey.

Terry Pinkard
Georgetown University


Letter to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım:

California Scholars for Academic Freedom,* an organization devoted to defending academic freedom and representing more than two hundred faculty at universities throughout California, has written to your office on several occasions, most recently on November 6, 2016, in order to express our concern over reports that the Higher Education Council (Yüksek Öğretim Kurulu, or YÖK) had commenced an investigation against scholars who signed a petition for peace in the Kurdish ​provinces of the country (“Peace Petition”). Since that date, many signatories have been prosecuted or dismissed from their posts. Hundreds more academics were dismissed with statutory decrees, their passports were confiscated, they were banned from public sector employment, and criminal investigations were launched. Many of those academics had to leave the country and are now facing extreme difficulties in resettling their lives and professions

We wish to reiterate our concern that these violations of human rights and academic freedom are continuing and in particular that individual Turkish academics are now being targeted in what amount to political trials.  Signatory academics are being sued on an individual basis based on the accusation of terror propaganda according to the Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. The public prosecutor proposes imprisonment extending to 7.5 years. The number of academics with indictments is increasing day by day, and their trials start on December 5, 2017.

The government’s actions against the Peace Petition signatories are distressing for at least three reasons. First, investigating the signatories after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the campaign in a public address, calling the signatories “traitors,” suggests that government’s actions are inappropriately politicized and in violation of internationally recognized principles of academic freedom. The mere act of signing the Peace Petition has left academics facing charges of “making terror propaganda”.   In addition to governmental actions, numerous universities have taken anticipatory action against academics, producing a wave of punitive actions against scholars solely on the grounds that they criticized the government’s policies in the southeastern provinces. The actions being taken against signatories of the Peace Petition are a disturbing indication of the degree to which restrictions on academic freedom have become a matter of state policy in Turkey.

Second, among the signatories of the petition are scholars whose research is on the Kurds, other minorities, politics, history, and other related fields. That is, their scholarly work is related to the concerns raised in the text of the petition. By treating the Peace Petition as treasonous and launching an investigation of signatories, the government is effectively interfering with the ability of these academics to conduct their research. President Erdoğan suggested that the petition calls for foreigners to intervene to correct the situation in Turkey. In fact, the petition called for national and international independent observers to monitor the situation in the Kurdish provinces. This is not a call for foreign intervention, but rather an invitation to engage in the kind of independent observation that is the hallmark of both human rights monitoring and academic research. To investigate and criminalize a petition in which scholars call for independent observers to monitor areas under siege and curfew where civilian deaths have been reported is to strike at the heart of the academic enterprise—the ability to conduct independent research.

Third, as a member state of the Council of Europe and a signatory of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Turkey is required to protect freedom of thought, expression and assembly.  Turkey is also a signatory to 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 (OSCE), all of which protect the rights to freedom of expression and association, which are at the heart of academic freedom. These rights are also enshrined in articles 25-27 of the Turkish Constitution. We urge your government to take all necessary steps to ensure that these rights are protected.

We particularly urge the government of Turkey to desist from prosecuting these academics under the Law on Struggle against Terrorism.

The use of spurious charges of engaging in “terror propaganda” to punish dissent and silence critics of your government’s policies on various issues, including Kurdish rights, represents a serious violation of academic freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and has cast a long shadow over the democratic credentials of your government. Against a backdrop of mounting international condemnation of the erosion of democratic rights and freedoms under your administration, taking steps to protect academic freedom and the right to education would be an important step to address concerns about human rights in Turkey.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

California Scholars for Academic Freedom


Sondra Hale, Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); email:; phone: 310-836-5121

Katherine C King, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles; email:; phone: 310-822-2830

David Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Riverside; email:; Phone: 951-827-1459

**CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM is a group of over 200 academics who teach in more than 20 California institutions.  The group formed as a response to various violations of academic freedom that were arising from both the post-9/11/2001 climate of civil rights violations and the increasing attacks on progressive educators by neo-conservatives. Many attacks have been aimed at scholars of Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern descent or at scholars researching and teaching about the Middle East, Arab and Muslim communities.  Our goal of protecting California Scholars based mainly in institutions of higher education has grown broader in scope to include threats to academic freedom across the United States, and where relevant, globally as well. We recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere.

Further information on CS4AF:


An evening of solidarity with Academics and Teachers in Turkey


Half-Day Conference
Transformation of Academia in Turkey and its Impacts on German Higher Education
University of Bremen (6th December 2017) Haus der Wissenschaft, Sandstraße 4/5

This half-day conference will provide a forum to analyse and discuss about different aspects of a very present problem that is increasing number of academics who were displaced by political force from Turkey and exiled to Germany. The conference specifically aims to bring this issue into academic context and handle with it from a critical academic perspective within the discipline of Education Sciences.

Furthermore the conference would not only focus on academia in Turkey but also on German Higher Education within which exiled academics are presently sustaining their academic life.
The papers at the conference will picture out not only present conditions of academia in Turkey but also the historical process through which the Higher Education System went deep structural changes for the last few decades. In other words, there would be an aim to find out historical as well as structural dynamics that made it easier for an authoritarian regime to involve into universities through authoritarian measures and with the aim of re-ordering and re-shaping them in line with its nationalist-conservative ideology in Turkey. However this seems a unique experience, in fact academic freedom in producing critical views on particular sensitive topics is under threat not only in Turkey but also in many other parts of the world. In order to point out this general framework of new trends in Turkey, the conference would look at the issue of
academic freedom from a global perspective. Here the emphasis will be on the impacts of neoliberalism on Higher Education. Also there will be a focus on the alternative strategies and counter developments which might have the potential of challenging authoritarian developments in academic life. Within this general context of the conference, the first session would analyses transformation of specific academic
dicisplines (i.e. Gender studies, Kurdish studies, Psychology) in Turkey. Particularly disiciplines of gender studies and Kurdish studies are the onces that have been mostly effected by the rise of authoritarianism in Turkey in the last couple of years. However pscychology can be considered as an example for understanding negative impacts and outcomes of neoliberalism on a social sicence disipline.

In the second part of the conference there will be papers on the structural analysis of different Higher Education Systems. Within this context, there will be presentations and discussions on different examples of neoliberal and authoritarian modes of governing Higher Education Systems in different countries like England, Germany, Greece and Turkey. This session will also provide a context to see differences as well as similarities between different higher education systems in respect to their shared neoliberal context. Despite this general framework, we would like to make a zoom specifically on German Higher Education in which exiled academics continue their academic works. By expanding on all these issues, we hope to develop better understanding where present and possible future problems might derive from in German Higher Education System and how exiled academics might cope with them. This session might also help us to evolve and adapt more comprehensive and stronger alternative approaches, perspectives, strategies and plans to conduct not only for the safety of present exiled academics in Germany, but also for academic freedom and freedom of speech in general in the world. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion by experts from interbranch organisations like “Heinrich-BöllStiftung” and political organisations like “Education and Science Workers’ Union” (GEW). Here we like to provide a shared context for both academics and activists and discus on the limitations and potentaisl that we have in the present system of Germany; share views on possible counter strategies and plans that might be conducted for the sake of academic freedom in Turkey and Germany.

So this last section would be more policy oriented and would aim to describe and bring out issues and problems as well as potentials related to the topic of the conference. The discussion will be run by Prof. Dr. Kader Konuk who would also rap up the whole conference with some final comments on the general outcomes that might be drawn from the conference.

Opening 13.00-13.15
First Session 13:15-14.45
Transformation of Social Disciplines in Academia in Turkey
(Coffee Break 15 min.)
Second Session 15.00-16.45
Impacts of Neoliberalism on Higher Education
(Coffee Break 15 min.)
Third Session 17.00-18.30
Panel Discussion on Potentials, Counter Strategies and Policies
Closing 18:30-18.45

***This conference is organized thanks to a financial support from “Bremen University Faculty of Education, Intercultural Education Unit” and from “The Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation”***

Turquie autoritaire / Turquie contestataire

Vous trouverez ci dessous le programme d’une journée de solidarité consacre à la Turquie à l’Université Paris 8 le 23 novembre 2017.
Cette journée est publique, mais s’adresse également aux étudiant-e-s de l’université et en particulier de l’UFR, qui lui a apporté son soutien. Elle mêle interventions universitaires et militantes. Read More

Academics For Peace protested TUBITAK at Naturejobs Career Expo- London

After a massive leafleting campaign and sending tweets to all the participants of Naturejobs Career Expo, only 4 people (two of them from Turkey) attended the Tubitak workshop at #NJCELondon.

TUBITAK at Naturejobs Career Expo, New York, NYU Langone Medical Center, 4 November 2017

TUBITAK will also participate in Naturejobs Career Expo-New York. Then join the conversation: #WCUB2017 and inform the participating organizations about the TUBITAK record.

Freeze all collaborations with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK)! Defend academic freedom!

Would you like to be affiliated with an institution that criminalizes

-freedom of expression?

-defunds projects at the whims of the government?

-rejects evolution theory and claims to make seeds more productive by praying?

-provides your personal data to Turkish Intelligence service?

Would you like to work in Turkey where your work visa can be cancelled overnight by decree-laws, or where you can suddenly face terrorism charges?

To give an example, which is only one out of hundreds of similar cases, it happened to Dr. Chris Stephenson, a UK citizen, who had been working as a lecturer in computer science in Turkey.

The government-controlled Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has:

· terminated existing grants to and rejected funding applications by signatories of the Academics for Peace petition1;

· terminated the study-abroad scholarships of PhD students who signed the petition;

· obliged funded PhD students to submit statements on their research to ensure that their research does not harm national interests;

· forced Academics for Peace signatories to withdraw their names from published or under-review work that it had funded in the past;

· stopped printing books on the theory of evolution and has increased support for shady ‘research’ projects that champion creationism.





GEW verurteilt Verhaftungen und Massenentlassungen von Lehrkräften und Wissenschaftlern in der Türkei

Bildungsgewerkschaft zum „Weltlehrer*innentag 2017“: „Lehren in Freiheit, Lehrkräfte stärken“

Frankfurt a.M. – Die Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) verurteilt mit Blick auf den morgigen „Weltlehrer*innentag“ die Verhaftungen und Massenentlassungen von Lehrkräften sowie Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern in der Türkei. GEW-Vorsitzende Marlis Tepe forderte das Land auf, den Ausnahmezustand zu beenden und zu rechtsstaatlichen Prinzipien zurückzukehren: „Dazu gehört, alle inhaftierten Gewerkschafterinnen und Gewerkschafter freizulassen, die zu Unrecht entlassenen Lehrkräfte sowie Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler wieder einzustellen und deren sozialen Status wieder herzustellen.“

„Seit dem Putschversuch im Sommer 2016 wurden mehr als 100.000 Staatsbedienstete entlassen oder von der Arbeit suspendiert. Etwa ein Drittel sind Lehrerinnen und Lehrer, darunter viele Mitglieder der Bildungsgewerkschaft Eğitim Sen. Die Entlassungen werden nicht angekündigt, Gründe nicht genannt. Die türkische Regierung veröffentlicht einfach Namenslisten auf ihrer Website. Die Lehrkräfte stehen plötzlich vor dem Nichts. Ihre Entlassungen kommen faktisch einem Berufsverbot gleich“, betonte Tepe am Mittwoch in Frankfurt a.M. „Die Kolleginnen und Kollegen können nicht mehr als Lehrkräfte arbeiten, da sie keine Chance haben, eine neue Stelle im Staatsdienst zu bekommen. Die Entlassungen bedeuten das soziale Aus, weil die Kolleginnen und Kollegen auch ihre Krankenversicherung sowie ihre Pensionsansprüche verlieren und die Türkei nicht verlassen dürfen.“ Tepe machte zudem darauf aufmerksam, dass auch hunderte Lehrkräfte an Universitäten und Hochschulen entlassen worden seien und Berufsverbot hätten. Viele hätten sich Anfang 2016 mit dem Appell „AkademikerInnen für den Frieden“ für ein Ende des Krieges in den Kurdenregionen eingesetzt.

In den Schulen in der Türkei falle immer mehr Unterricht aus, weil Lehrkräfte fehlen. Neu eingestellte Lehrerinnen und Lehrer erhielten nur noch Frist- statt fester Arbeitsverträge. Gleichzeitig würden neue Lehrpläne eingeführt, die einer Islamisierung des Unterrichts an öffentlichen Schulen Vorschub leisten. So sei es beispielsweise im Biologieunterricht künftig nicht mehr erlaubt, über die Evolutionstheorie zu informieren.

„Immer mehr gewerkschaftlich aktive Lehrkräfte sowie Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler fliehen aus der Türkei. Der Grund: Viele Kolleginnen und Kollegen werden kriminalisiert und zu langjährigen Haftstrafen verurteilt“, sagte Tepe. „Selbstverständlich unterstützt die GEW Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus der Türkei und deren Familienmitglieder, die in Deutschland Asyl beantragt haben.“

Info: Der „Weltlehrer*innentag 2017“ steht unter dem Motto „Lehren in Freiheit, Lehrkräfte stärken“. Mit der Initiative soll der Lehrerberuf weltweit gewürdigt werden. Der Tag geht auf einen Beschluss von UNESCO, Internationaler Arbeitsorganisation (ILO) und Bildungsinternationale (BI) zurück. Seit 1994 wird der „Weltlehrer*innentag“ jährlich am 5. Oktober gefeiert – im Gedenken an die „Charta zum Status der Lehrerinnen und Lehrer“, die UNESCO und ILO 1964 angenommen haben.

Diese Pressemitteilung finden Sie auch im Internet unter:



Prof. Erkan İbiş, Rector at Ankara University and responsible for the massive purge of academics at that institution, has announced he will speak at the Turkish-German Academic Days at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (18.08-19.08.2017).

As rector of Ankara University, Prof. Erkan İbiş has implemented repressive policies against scholars who signed the Peace Petition that calls on the Turkish government to end violence against its own citizens. In so doing, he has seriously violated academic rights and freedoms. Right after the Turkish State’s announcement that the Academics for Peace would be persecuted, the Ankara University administration started an investigation and finally expelled more than 100 scholars through emergency decrees. The persecution of the Academics for Peace is still ongoing and has led to multiple waves of criminal and administrative investigations, detentions, dismissals, passport revocations and travel bans, denials of pension rights, and exclusions from the labour market through blacklisting of national insurance numbers. Meanwhile, academics at Ankara University have been subjected to other disciplinary investigations as well.

These repressive policies have inflicted serious damage on the Faculty of Letters (DTCF), the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Medicine (İbn-i Sina) the Faculty of Law, the Faculties of Political Science (Mülkiye) and Communication at Ankara University – all of them are among the most important centers for critical thinking in modern Turkish history. Currently, as a result of the dismissals, 38 undergraduate courses, 5 graduate courses, and 50 dissertations are on indefinite hold in the Faculty of Politics, while in the faculty of Communication, the numbers are 40 undergraduate courses, 29 graduate courses, and 99 dissertations.

Furthermore, Prof. Erkan Ibiş recently issued a special regulation to prevent the registration of expelled academics who passed the Turkish general university entrance exam and gained a right to register for undergraduate degrees at Ankara University as a way to re-enter the institution. In so doing, Prof. İbiş once again seriously curbed the right to free speech at Ankara University.

Therefore, as a subsection of the Academics for Peace group, we call for a boycott of Erkan İbiş’s participation in the Turkish-German Academic Days at the Justus Liebig University Giessen. We believe that the academic community of JLU Giessen will support academic freedoms and free speech, joining us in our protest against the extreme violation of academic freedoms at Ankara University carried out by Prof. Erkan İbiş.

Academics for Peace Germany


Die deutsche Hochschulrektorenkonferenz  : Ein Jahr nach dem gescheiterten Militärputsch: / Akademische Freiheiten an türkischen Hochschulen massiv eingeschränkt. Read More


Fear and loathing in Turkish academia: a tale of appeasement and complicity

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? Read More

The Aesthetic of Solidarity

While Erdoğan’s attacks on academic freedom are carrying on, they are getting solidarity with more and more academics worldwide as well as with academics and teachers in Turkey. Many academics throughout the world are organizing events on the situation in Turkey, supporting colleges from Turkey and are organizing solidarity campaigns. Rarely, an international solidarity was this strong. Solidarity statements from Literature Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University),Literature Professor Fredric Jameson (Duke University), Political Science Professor Bertell Ollman (New York University) Read More

TU Berlin kritisiert Situation in der Türkei scharf

Der Umgang der derzeitigen Regierung mit kritischen und nicht regierungstreuen Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern in diesem Land ist nicht akzeptabel – ihnen werden Disziplinarverfahren, Entlassungen, Festnahmen oder Ausreiseverbote angedroht oder verhängt. Die Achtung der Menschenwürde und der Freiheit von Wissenschaft und Forschung sind für einen demokratischen Staat und dessen wissenschaftliche Einrichtungen unverzichtbar und unverhandelbar. Wir fordern alle Politikerinnen und Politiker in der Türkei auf, diese Missstände in ihrem Land zu beseitigen. Alle Menschen haben ein Recht auf Wissenschaftsfreiheit und Freiheit der Gedanken. Read More

TU Berlin regrets giving honorary doctorate to Turkish PM

Technical University of Berlin has expressed regret for bestowing an honorary doctorate on Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in 2011 Read More

An open letter from Prof Luc Michel (UCL) to Dokuz Eylul University’s Rector

Professor Cem TERZI is a very distinguished colleague and a shining example of both a clinical and academic leader enjoying respect, friendship and admiration all over Europe, but also in the Middle East and China…

As many of my European and American colleagues, I am profoundly shocked and saddened by his most recent plight : he was actually dismissed in late June 2017 from his clinical and academic positions from Dokuz Eylül University (Izmir), because he signed a peace petition. This is in total contradiction with freedom of speech and academic freedom essential to the mission of any academic tenure, that must be protected by ensuring that teachers can be fired only for causes such as gross professional incompetence or behaviour that evokes condemnation from the academic community itself. Read More

Press Conference at EHESS in Paris on academic boycott of Turkey

Speakers:  Etienne Balibar, Eric Fassin, Hamit Bozarslan and Selim Eskiizmirliler Watch the Press Conference

Prof. Eric Fassin talks to Mediascope about the academic boycott of Turkey

 International Keynote Speakers Withdraw from Turkish Conference

As much as we were looking forward to giving keynote lectures and interacting with colleagues at “Narratives of Trauma”, the 16th International Cultural Studies Symposium to be held at Ege University in Izmir from 10 to 12 May 2017, we have decided to reconsider our participation in the light of recent political developments in Turkey, particularly the worsening attacks on academic freedom.
We accepted the invitation to speak at this conference many months ago, in a very different climate. Since then, and especially in the immediate run-up to the conference, we have heard testimonies from sacked or silenced academics inside Turkey and those in exile around the world. They have made it clear to us just how dire the situation has become. We are deeply troubled by the treatment meted out to the signatories of the Academics for Peace petition, many of whom have lost their jobs, pensions, and right to travel abroad, all because they asked the Turkish government to stop killing Kurdish civilians and return to peace negotiations with the Kurdish rebels. Ege University has recently targeted signatory scholars among its faculty, which strikes us as contrary to the principles of an academic institution or a healthy civil society.
We take the decision to withdraw from this conference with a heavy heart, but we do not want to be seen to be normalizing an unacceptable situation by carrying on with academic business as usual. Standing in solidarity with the victims of the academic purges sweeping Turkey today, we wish to redirect attention to their narratives of trauma and call on the Turkish authorities to reinstate them and respect academic freedom.

Prof. Stef Craps, Ghent University, Belgium
Prof. Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck, University of London, UK”

UCU calls on UK universities to freeze collaboration with Turkish universities taking action against academics

Defend academic freedom and campaign against repression in Turkey – Birkbeck, University of London, University of Greenwich, Maritime Branch

Congress notes and condemns:

  1. attacks on Turkish academics who signed the Academics for Peace petition, together with associated journalists and politicians
  2. suppression of free press in Turkey
  3. violence against Kurdish people.

Congress instructs the NEC and the general secretary to:

  1. campaign for the immediate release of arrested university teachers, journalists, and politicians
  2. call on the Turkish government to stop the persecution of ‘Academics for Peace’, to re-instate all academics (with compensation), and ensure signatories are protected against public threats
  3. call on UK universities, colleges and other institutions to support persecuted academics and to freeze collaboration with Turkish universities taking action against academics
  4. initiate a campaign of protest letters and emails to Turkish universities which have taken action against signatories of the ‘Academics for Peace’ petition
  5. call on the British government to demand reinstatement of democratic freedoms in Turkey and an end to violence against Kurds
  6. call for a ban on arms sales to the Erdogan regime until these are achieved.


4A.1 National Executive Committee

After point 3., insert new point 4.:

‘4. Congress also notes the result of the 16 April referendum to give additional new executive powers to the president of Turkey and expresses its deepest concerns, given the alleged irregularities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms during the referendum campaign.’


Substantive motion

Congress notes and condemns:

  1. attacks on Turkish academics who signed the Academics for Peace petition, together with associated journalists and politicians
  2. suppression of free press in Turkey
  3. violence against Kurdish people
  4. Congress also notes the result of the 16 April referendum to give additional new executive powers to the president of Turkey and expresses its deepest concerns, given the alleged irregularities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms during the referendum campaign.

Congress instructs the NEC and the general secretary to:

  1. campaign for the immediate release of arrested university teachers, journalists, and politicians
  2. call on the Turkish government to stop the persecution of ‘Academics for Peace’, to re-instate all academics (with compensation), and ensure signatories are protected against public threats
  3. call on UK universities, colleges and other institutions to support persecuted academics and to freeze collaboration with Turkish universities taking action against academics
  4. initiate a campaign of protest letters and emails to Turkish universities which have taken action against signatories of the ‘Academics for Peace’ petition
  5. call on the British government to demand reinstatement of democratic freedoms in Turkey and an end to violence against Kurds
  6. call for a ban on arms sales to the Erdogan regime until these are achieved. Read more


Conseil scientifique du CNRS – Recommandation

Les relations avec le Conseil de la recherche scientifique et technique de Turquie (TÜBİTAK). Le Conseil de la recherche scientifique et technique de Turquie (TÜBİTAK) s’est engagé dans des pratiques d’épuration politique des scientifiques turcs, notamment à travers sa circulaire envoyée le 24 mars 2017 à toutes les revues scientifiques. Au vu de ces pratiques, le Conseil scientifique demande au CNRS de reconsidérer ses accords de collaboration avec le TÜBİTAK.

Bruno Chaudret
Président du Conseil scientifique

Recommandation adoptée le 25 avril 2017
Votants : 19 Pour, 0 Contre, 0 Abstention Read more.

MESA Letter on Turkey

June 20, 2017

Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım and President Erdoğan:

We write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our deep concern over the criminalization of non-Turkish (especially Syrian) students, faculty and staff members who were employed by or enrolled in universities allegedly affiliated with followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen. Numerous reports, as well as additional information we have collected, indicate that dozens of these individuals have been detained, threatened with deportation, or even actually deported. Most worrisome is that many of those who have been deported are refugees who escaped war. Read More

MESA Letter on Turkey

May 19, 2017

Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım and President Erdoğan:

We write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our deep concern over a memo that was issued by the Turkish Council for Scientific and Technical Research (TÜBITAK) on 17 March 2017. The memo constitutes the most recent example of the unprecedented violations of academic freedom that have occurred under the State of Emergency declared by your government after the failed coup attempt in July 2016. These violations not only have a devastating impact on Turkish academia and affected academics’ lives but also increasingly distance Turkey from the global academic community’s ethical and professional standards. Read more.

Türkei: Hungerstreik gegen Erdogan

Die zwei Lehrer Nuriye Gülmen und Semih Özakça sind zum Zeichen des Widerstands gegen die Entlassungen von Beamten in der Türkei geworden. Um ihr Ziel zu erreichen, riskieren sie ihr Leben.



When: 17 March 2017, 12:30 — 17:00
Venue: Room B34, Birkbeck Main Building
A half-day conference in memory of Mehmet Fatih Traş [1]

17 March 2017, Birkbeck, University of London

In the face of rising authoritarianism and right-wing populism, academic freedom is under severe threat in contemporary Turkey. Governmental repression on academics became all too apparent when the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, instigated a campaign of persecution against academics – Academics for Peace (BAK) – who signed a peace petition in January 2016. The petition, which called on the Turkish government to bring a halt to the destruction and civilian killings being carried out in Kurdish cities and towns, was signed by more than 2000 academics.

As of 2017, more than 700 BAK academics have been subject to dismissal, disciplinary actions, criminal prosecution, or even detention. The repression has escalated beyond BAK academics in the aftermath of the failed military coup in July 2016, with thousands of academics being fired, or forced to resign, and hundreds being legally detained. More than 20 universities have been closed, and their students forced to find alternative places. In addition, since January 2016, hundreds of academics and scholars have been displaced, either forced to leave Turkey or choosing it as the only viable option.

This half-day conference will address the current threats to academic freedom in Turkey, in the context of the current global political climate. We aim to start an urgent conversation about academic freedom and freedom of speech, increasingly stifled due to neoliberalism, authoritarianism, and the so-called “war on terror” in many parts of the world, from the US to India, Latin America to Egypt. We invite the university community, journalists, activists, politicians, and all concerned individuals to join us in this effort to defend academic freedom and freedom of speech and think about ways to organise solidarity to support scholars and journalists at risk.


Panel I –  12:30 – 14:30

Academic Freedom, Authoritarianism and Turkey

Chair: Dr. Noémi Levy-Aksu, Birkbeck College

Étienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor at Paris X Nanterre and Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University

Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University and Diana Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor in Center for Gender Studies at Cambridge University

Naif Bezwan, dismissed Lecturer from Mardin Artuklu University

Nilgün Toker Kılınç, dismissed Professor from Aegean University (Via Skype)

Break – 14:30-14:45

Panel II – 14:45-17:00

Round Table Discussion: Building Solidarity with Academics in Turkey

Chair: Dr. Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Middlesex University

Jean Lambert, MEP, Green Party

Rob Copeland, UCU Policy Officer

Caroline Stockford, Chair of the Translation, Linguistic Rights and Writers in Prison Committee of Wales PEN Cymru

Maria Chichtchenkova, Protection Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia – Front Line Defenders

Location: Room B34, Birkbeck Main Building, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX

This event is organised by BAK-UK (Academics for Peace, United Kingdom) with the support of Birkbeck School of Law.

[1]Mehmet Fatih Traş was a peace petition signatory academic from Turkey, who committed suicide on 25 February 2017 after being dismissed from Cukurova University and systematically denied of other academic positions elsewhere and systematically denied other academic positions elsewhere in Turkey for over a year.
Further details: More information about this event …  or at