Sunday, July 23, 2017


'We Live in an Orwellian State'

Turkish Academics Are the Latest Victims of Erdogan's Purges

A Turkish researcher shocked the audience at an Athens conference recently when she described the fear rife in Turkish academia, where pursuing one's field of research becomes fraught with danger

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In a quiet and relaxed tone, as if she were talking about events occurring thousands of miles from her homeland, Dr. A. described the fear of the government and its representatives that prevails among Turkish media outlets today. The remarks A. made during the 15 minutes allotted to her at a recent media conference in Athens shocked the audience – academicians from around the world who'd come to present their latest research.

I cannot disclose A.'s full name, even though it appears on the list of speakers, nor is it a good idea to mention the university at which she teaches.

"I'm not sure I'll have a job after today's lecture" she told participants at the event, later offering me a more detailed explanation.
"University administrators and lecturers are being fired daily," A. said. "Deans have been replaced three times in the last three months. One doesn't know any more what the government wants from us. Tomorrow, I or any of my colleagues could be called to the dean's office and fired. They don't say why, they only say they've been ordered to do it. There is no one to turn to in order to appeal the decision."

Fields of research that are the pride of the important institution at which A. teaches have been particularly hard hit.
Turkish academic Nuriye Gulmen, and primary school teacher Semih Ozakca went on a hunger strike, in Ankara.

Zvi Bar'el

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