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The Council of Higher Education: We canceled academic’s work permit due to signing of the peace petition

In January 2016, three academics who signed a peace petition has been jailed in Turkey on suspicion of “terrorist propaganda”. This was one of the latest attacks on free speech in Turkey. After that, at least 30 other academics have been dismissed and 27 suspended by their universities.

The peace petition was signed by 1,128 academics. These academics are calling themselves academics for peace. They basically protested Turkish army’s violent operations against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in the southeastern cities of Turkey. The peace academics think that these operations have a disastrous impact on the Kurdish civilian population.

In response to the petition, Turkish president Erdogan started a harsh campaign against these academics and he demanded sanctions against them. As a result, many academics were dismissed and some of them were jailed.

While these jailed academics have committed no crime, they are still in the jail as a part of president Erdogan’s drive to silence all critical voices in Turkey.

The Council of Higher Education: We canceled due to signing of the petition

Lastly, the Council of Higher Education canceled Historian and French citizen academics Noémi Lévy-Aksu’s work permit. According to the statement made by the Council of Higher Education, Dr. Aksu’s work permit was canceled because of the signing of the peace petition.

While there is no legal basis for suspending, dismissing these academics, after the July 15 coup attempt, police detained many academics and searched their homes and offices.  Moreover, the Council of Higher Education of Turkey pushes universities to investigate those who signed the peace petition. According to the TurkishPurge.com since July 15-coup attempt, 8,272 academics were dismissed and some of them were jailed.

After the July 15 coup attempt, Turkish president Erdogan started to define his enemies so broadly. Many journalists, teachers, and academics who could not possibly have been involved in the coup attempt were jailed or dismissed. Some say that Erdogan is not dismissing his enemies but also he is grabbing an opportunity to silence all opposition in Turkey including secularist, liberals and Kurdish activists.

Mustafa Öz, Texas

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