YÖK says Boğaziçi academic fired for signing peace declaration

Noémi Levy-Aksu was an assistant professor of history at Turkey’s prestigious Boğaziçi University.

Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) has announced that Noémi Levy-Aksu, an assistant professor of history at Turkey’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, who was dismissed from her position in February, was fired because she signed a peace declaration.

YÖK’s announcement came in response to a question asked by Levy-Aksu to the board concerning the cancellation of her work permit.

Published in early 2016, the peace declaration accuses the Turkish government of carrying out heavy-handed operations in Turkey’s southeastern region, where outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the military have been engaged in clashes since the breakdown of a cease-fire between the two in July 2015.

It was signed by more than 1,000 intellectuals from both inside and outside Turkey, including US philosopher Noam Chomsky.

The peace declaration frustrated Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading to retribution against the academics. Some of the insults Erdoğan used against them included “so-called intellectuals,” “a flock called intellectuals,” “traitors” and “rough copies of intellectuals.”

Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained when police raided their homes and offices across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan. 11, 2016, while hundreds of them were removed from their jobs.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. More than 8,270 academics have already lost their jobs since July 15, 2016 either after being dismissed from their positions or after the government shuttered their universities. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 9, 2017

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