Turkish government detains 6 more academics in anti-Gülen witch hunt campaign

File photo.

Six academics including a rector were detained at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The detention decision was made for seven academics, six of whom were detained, including Rector Osman Şimşek, as part of an investigation into “Gülen-linked universities” by the Tekirdağ Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Thirty-eight academics from the same university, including vice rectors, were detained two weeks ago as part of the same investigation. Nine were arrested and 29 were released.

According to a study conducted by the Freedom For Academia, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government under the strict rule of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sacked more than 8,000 critical academics and led to 28 percent decrease in academic output since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

A report issued in March 2017 by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has claimed that 4,811 academics have been dismissed from 112 universities across the country through decrees issued during a state of emergency declared after the failed coup attempt.

However, a BBC Turkish report published in November 2016 said a total 19,828 academics have been dismissed, stripped of the right to teach at universities or have become unemployed due to the closure of their universities by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

According to the report, 3,850 academics have been directly dismissed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement with state of emergency decrees issued following the putsch.

A total of 13,170 academics who were part of a program for training lecturers were deprived of the right to become university staff through another state of emergency decree.

A total of 2,808 academics became unemployed when the government closed down 15 private universities on July 23 with a state of emergency decree.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 22, 2017


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