Academic Purges In Turkey

The government of Turkey appears to be using the recent attempted coup as an excuse to purge universities of opposition. According to recent reports, the licenses of approximately 21,000 teachers have been revoked, nearly 1,600 deans have been ordered to resign. Additionally, the government has banned academics from travelling abroad

The Turkish government believes that a key figure in the opposition is in the United States. From one report:

Thousands of officials suspected of links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen—who the government blames for the coup—have also been purged from the judiciary and Interior Ministry. The newest sackings and calls for resignation are the latest in a movement that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says is aimed at removing the influence of Gulen “by its roots.” A total of 49,337 public sector workers – including military and police personnel – have lost their jobs since Friday, according to Hurriyet.

President Erdogan and his government blame Gulen for orchestrating the coup attempt on Friday in which over 200 people were killed and 1,400 injured. Ankara has called for Gulen’s extradition from the United States, where he resides in the Pennsylvania town of Saylorsburg. However, Gulen, 75, has rejected allegations that he was involved in the attempt, telling prosecutors in a statement that he is “not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it I do not know.” He said that Erdogan may have staged it himself – a claim which the Turkish president has called “nonsensical.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Turkey would need to provide “evidence, not allegations” against Gulen in order to have him extradited to Turkey.

An open letter about the purge of academic institutions in Turkey is available for parties to sign here.

If you have further information about the situation there, please share it in the comments.

(Previous DN posts about Turkey.)


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