Dutch academics show solidarity with dismissed Turkish colleagues

The famous gate of the Istanbul University.

With a recently released declaration signed by 122 academics, Amsterdam University’s academic staff have showed solidarity with dismissed academics in Turkey. “We, academics from the University of Amsterdam, are deeply concerned about the continued attacks on academic freedom and on critical academics in Turkey which the Turkish government has escalated in recent days,” stated in the declaration.

According to a report by bianet.org, signatory academics have also urged their colleagues at the University of Amsterdam and in the international academic community to stand in solidarity with their colleagues who have been dismissed and are under attack from Turkish government and the police.

The academics also called their colleagues to continue to express this solidarity publicly, and to persist in defending academic freedom whenever and wherever it comes under attack; to support those political and civil society organizations in Turkey which protest the government’s increasingly oppressive policies; to provide institutional support for dismissed and threatened Turkish academics through visiting scholarships, emergency programs, and other means; to urge their own national governments and international organizations to fearlessly hold the Turkish government accountable for its persistent violations of human and civil rights, academic freedom and the rule of law.

The Dutch academics have said in their declaration of solidarity that “With the latest decree from February 7, issued under the state of emergency, another 330 academics were fired from their universities under the pretense that they support terrorism. This latest attack on Turkish academia has primarily hit Ankara University – one of the leading universities in social sciences and humanities in Turkey – and signatories of the “Academics for Peace” declaration: Out of the 330 who lost their job, exactly half (115) were signatories of the declaration calling for a stop to the government’s security operations in south-eastern Turkey, which have a disastrous impact on the Kurdish civilian population.”

Stating that with its actions the Turkish government claims to fight terrorism, but unmistakably the measures deployed are calculated to outlaw dissent – specifically from the intelligentsia and among academics, the declaration continued as “Many of those who were fired are recognized as leading academics in their fields and no evidence has been provided for the claim that they have been supporting terrorism. Whether those affected will be able to appeal the decision that ended their career is entirely unclear. In addition, the passports of the dismissed academics and of their family members have been cancelled, imposing a de facto travel ban on them.”

According to a recent decree, 4,464 people working in government service, including teachers, academics, police officers, soldiers, members of the judiciary and journalists, were purged from their jobs. A total of 7,316 academics have been purged in Turkey as part of a post-coup crackdown.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement or alleged affiliation to terror organizations since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement

Feb. 15, 2017

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