Eight more academics detained amidst protests against post-coup purges

File Photo.

Eight academicians including Professor Mehmet Ali Malas, dean of the faculty of medicine at Katip Çelebi University in İzmir, were detained on Thursday over alleged Gülen movement links while a group of civil society organizations in Ankara held a protest on Thursday in support of 330 academics who were dismissed by a government decree on Feb. 7.

Meanwhile, following the last mass purge targeting large number of academics, no professors have been left to teach 24 undergraduate courses at Ankara University’s department of political science, with 50 master’s students also stranded without a supervisor. Cumhuriyet daily reported the announcement of Professor Ayhan Yalçınkaya, who said that 23 academics had been purged from one particular faculty. Fourteen graduate courses have been interrupted as a result of the purge, coming in the middle of the semester.

According to the new decree, 4,464 people working in government service, including teachers, academics, police officers, soldiers, members of the judiciary and journalists, were dismissed from their jobs.

DISMISSED ACADEMICS’ INTERNET ACCESS BLOCKED

Moreover, internet access has been blocked at the offices of the Ankara University academics who were dismissed after a government decree on Tuesday, according to Duvar news portal.

The academics found out the shutdown when they were packing their belongings on Wednesday and the internet shutdown was ordered only a day after the dismissals by the rector Erkan İbiş, according to university personnel.

“It is a pity to cut off the internet at PCs in the 21st century as everybody has internet connection on their mobile phones,” some academics from the Faculty of Communication told the news portal.

PROTEST HELD IN SUPPORT OF LATEST PURGES IN UNIVERSITIES

A group of civil society organizations in Ankara held a protest on Thursday in support of 330 academics who were dismissed by a government decree. Representatives from trade unions such as the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) and the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) and professional associations including the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers (TMMOB) and the Turkish Doctors Union (TTB) issued a statement in Ankara’s Sakarya Square urging reinstatement of the academics.

Meanwhile, a group of students at Ankara University called for the resignation of Rector Erkan İbiş, who approved the dismissals.

On Wednesday Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) said the names of academics who are purged from universities through controversial government decrees are determined by the university administrations themselves, according to BBC Turkish.

In the wake of growing criticism of YÖK due to the expulsion of thousands of academics from universities, YÖK’s press advisor, Şener Aslan, said: “It is the universities that have the final say over their expulsions. The names are determined by universities, and YÖK does not conduct any investigation in this regard.”

In another protest, a group of Boğaziçi University students issued a statement supporting dismissed professor of constitutional law Murat Sevinç, who also pens critical articles for the Diken news portal. Professor Sevinç was dismissed from his position at Ankara University, but also gave classes at Boğaziçi University.

A total of 330 academics were dismissed in a new government decree issued on Tuesday, bringing the number of academics who lost their jobs after a failed coup on July 15 to 7,316. Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement 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. (turkishminute.com & turkeypurge.com)

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