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Turkey - Call for Solidarity - Academics for Peace

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Academics for Peace, a network of Turkish scholars that includes many IAMCR members, has issued an urgent request for solidarity following the dismissal of 41 professors, apparently for signing a petition in January 2016 calling for peace in Turkey.

Four communication scholars are among those dismissed from their positions.

IAMCR issued previous statements this year expressing its concern about threats to academic freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey.

  1. IAMCR's General Assembly approved a statement in support of Turkish academic colleagues during the assocation's annual conference from 27-31 July in Leicester, UK - http://iamcr.org/news/2016ga-statement-on-turkey
  2. IAMCR's Committee for the Improvement of Academic Life released a statement of support for Turkish academics who were arrested and harrassed after signing a petition critical of government and military activities in Turkey's Kurdish region in January - http://iamcr.org/clearinghouse/turkey-2016

The request received from Academics for Peace on 3 September 2016 is below.

Urgent Call for Solidarity!

Members of “Academics for Peace” and Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim-SEN) have been removed from their positions in public higher education institutions permanently!

In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. Since then the signatories (“Academics for Peace”) have been subject to heavy pressure and persecution. Hundreds of them have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or suspended, some were forced to resign or leave the country.

Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and the Turkish government holds the religious group led by the US resident cleric Fethullah Gülen responsible. After the coup attempt, the Government and university administrations have continued targeting the Academics for Peace with the pretext of purging Gülen affiliated individuals from public service.

The latest mass purge came late at night on Thursday, September 1, 2016 via a cabinet decree within the context of the state of emergency rule. More than 41 Peace Petition signatories were deemed “supporters of terrorism” and banned from public service, alongside more than 40,000 public service employees. Note that many of the signatories have already been under administrative investigations for signing the Peace Petition for months, without a conclusion. The dismissal of the signatories overnight with a fait accompli of a State of Emergency decree is a serious violation of their basic human right to fair trial and due process. Dismissed under the conditions of state of emergency, they will neither be able to appeal the decision nor work in public sector for a lifetime; their passports will also be revoked.

This latest attempt to purge Academics for Peace by linking them to coup plotters is outrageous and unacceptable. Government of Turkey is taking advantage of the State of Emergency rule to crack down all critical voices, including those who have no relation to the Gülen organization or the coup attempt. We urgently demand that our colleagues get reinstated to their positions and have their employee rights fully restored.

Please disseminate our call for solidarity in your networks. Ask your college, university, professional organization, or union to publish a statement in support of academics in Turkey, and send it to government and university officials in Turkey.

Academics for Peace

Contact Information for Your Reference:

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Office of Prime Minister
Basbakanlik
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Administrative Aide, Ozel Kalem Mudurlugu Fax: ++90 312 403 62 82
Public Relations Department Fax: ++ 90 312 422 26 67
binali.yildirim@tbmm.gov.tr

 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı (President of Turkey)
cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

 İsmail Kahraman
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanı (President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly)
ismail.Kahraman@tbmm.gov.tr

Bekir Bozdağ
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Adalet Bakanı (Justice Minister of the Republic of Turkey)
Bekir.Bozdag@tbmm.gov.tr
info@adalet.gov.tr

Yekta Saraç
Türkiye Yüksek Öğretim Kurulu (YÖK) Başkanı (President of the Council of Higher Education)
cohe@yok.gov.tr
011 90 312 266 47 59

Serdar Kılıç
Turkish Ambassador to the United States
Fax: +1 202 612 67 44
embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

İsmet Yılmaz
Milli Eğitim Bakanı (Minister of National Education)
Atatürk Bulvarı No: 98 06650 Bakanlıklar Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 4188289+90 (312) 417 70 27
ismet.yilmaz@tbmm.org.tr