Rector says signing peace declaration used as criterion in purge of academics

Mehmet Emin Arat, the Rector of Marmara University.

Professor Mehmet Emin Arat, rector of Marmara University, has said academics who have been dismissed from the university through government decrees were selected according to whether they had signed a peace declaration in early 2016.

The peace declaration called on the government to halt operations by security forces in southeastern Turkey, restore peace to the nation and return to the negotiating table to restart shelved talks with the Kurds to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. A total of 1,128 academics signed the declaration.

“We at Marmara University selected those colleagues [who signed the peace declaration] from a list [for the purge]. I mean, no special effort was made to determine the names. Their names were already on the list,” Arat said in an interview with the BBC Turkish service.

In the wake of the protests arising from the purge of thousands of academics from universities by government decrees, the Higher Education Board (YÖK) announced in a recent statement that the lists of academics slated to be purged were drawn up by the universities.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed since the failed coup on July 15, 2016. Professors, associate professors and lecturers from nearly all universities in Turkey were targeted in the government’s post-coup crackdown. Great majority of the purged academics were accused of links to the Gülen movement. ( Feb. 23, 2017

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