BRUSSELS – Following the failed coup attempt, the Turkish authorities extended their repressions to the education sector, suspending more than 15,000 employees of the education ministry, from teachers and administrators to university professors. In addition, more than 1,500 university deans have also been ordered to resign by the state-run higher education council (YÖK).
“This is in no way a legitimate response to the attempted coup and shouldn’t be perceived as such. By doing so the authorities have started a large scale attack on academic freedom in the country. The rapidity and scale of the arrests, evoke a purge rather than a procedure based on any evidence.” says Lea Meister, President of the European Students’ Union.
All academic staff have received travels bans and academics working outside the country have been called home.
“Shutting down international cooperation between researchers and teachers poses a huge threat to openness and showcases a government that is afraid of critical assessment at a time when it’s most needed.” says Helge Schwitters, Human Rights and Solidarity Coordinator of the European Students’ Union.
We call upon the Turkish authorities to reaffirm its commitment to democratic values, such as the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of association and open debate. These values have been clearly communicated as the legitimate ground to fight back the attempted coup.