Turkey’s Erdogan shuts universities

23 July 2016, 15 universities were shut down (see list below). The closure of universities has left 61,382 students in Turkey in academic limbo. They have difficulties whether they can continue their studies and worried about any kind of stigmatization as these universities Gülen affiliated. 2,759 academics have also been purged from these universities, some of them detained and under custody. Turgut Özal University old rector Prof. Abdulkadir Şengün is among these academics who are jailed after the attempted coup. The concern is not only about the freedom of speech, but some of the academics are afraid to be prisoned.

The list of the closed universities and the number of academics – students:

 

Canik Başarı University                              61 academics

2220 students

 

Gediz University                                           240 academics

7965 students

 

Fatih University                                            514 academics

14,219 students

 

İpek University                                              119 academics

870 students

 

Melikşah University                         175 academics

4500 students

 

Mevlana University                          175 academics

4714 students

 

Murat Hudavendigar University                17 academics

213 students

 

Orhangazi University                                  131 academics

2138 students

 

Selahaddin Eyyubi University                   80 academics

1283 students

 

Suleyman Şah University                          98 academics

2068 students

 

Şifa University                                              271 academics

2625 students

 

Turgut Özal University                               393 academics

7738 students

 

International Antalya University    128 academics

2130 students

 

Zirve University                                            327 academics

8699 students

 

Total:                                                             2,759 academics

61,382 students

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Turkey’s post-coup purges shake higher education

 

By Seda Sezer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – With the summer holiday almost over, computer science student Hande Tekiner should be gearing up for a year of cram sessions and late-night homework. Instead, she may have nowhere to return to, as her university was shut after Turkey’s failed coup.

Authorities have closed 15 universities and around 1,000 secondary schools linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed for the July 15 attempted putsch. Gulen has denied involvement in the plot and condemned it.

The closures have left about 200,000 students in Turkey in academic limbo, wondering if they can continue their studies and worried about the black mark of a Gulen school on their college record. Tens of thousands of academics and school teachers have also been purged, deepening concern about curtailment of academic freedom and free speech.

“As students at universities that have been shut, we are being victimised, even though those schools were opened with state approval,” said Tekiner.

The 23-year-old had been due to start her fourth and final year at Mevlana University in the central city of Konya before the coup. “I have doubts if I will be able to finish my studies,” she said.

Tekiner said she and others were harassed on social media, labelled by anonymous accusers as supporters of the coup because they attended Gulen schools.

President Tayyip Erdogan and the government say the cleric’s network used the schools to recruit followers who then infiltrated the military, civil service and judiciary. Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies the charges.

Turkey has asked the United States to extradite him but Washington says only a federal court can make that decision. Since the coup, in which at least 240 people died, Turkey has detained about 40,000 people and formally arrested half of them.

Rights groups and some in the West fear Erdogan is using the purges to stifle dissent and tighten his grip on power.

PIOUS MASSES

Until a public falling-out in 2013, Erdogan and Gulen were allies. Erdogan initially saw the cleric as useful in taming the influence of the military and secular elite who had dominated Turkey since the founding of the modern republic.

For years Gulen’s followers have run schools across Turkey and as far afield as Africa and the United States, blending Islam with an emphasis on science and interfaith dialogue.

The schools helped to open up higher education to Erdogan’s voter base – the pious masses often from poorer regions who were traditionally shut out of elite universities in Istanbul and Ankara.

Erdogan, himself a graduate of a religious school, has fought to bring religious education into the mainstream of constitutionally secular Turkey and worked to overturn a ban on the headscarf in parliament and universities.

But the closure of Gulen schools is troubling for students in towns where there are no other universities. Those from modest backgrounds – and female students from pious families – cannot afford, or may not be allowed, to live away from home.

“The reason I chose my university is to be close to home,” said another student from Konya’s Mevlana University. “As a girl, my family would never allow me to study in another town.”

The Council of Higher Education, known as “YOK” in Turkish, provoked widespread outrage when it said students would be placed at new universities based on exam scores, meaning they could end up at a school on the other side of the country.

It later relented following a number social media campaigns, including one under the hashtag “#YOKbizimagduretme” or “YOK, don’t victimise us”.

PURGES

Roughly 80,000 people in the military, civil service, and judiciary have been sacked or suspended in the purges. Around half of those have been in education, according to state media.

Teachers’ unions and some opposition politicians say authorities are targeting educators based on evidence that is tenuous at best – such as having opened a savings account at Bank Asya, a now defunct lender founded by Gulen’s followers.

The government has said the investigations and other measures are necessary to prevent another coup.

But Kamuran Karaca, who heads one of Turkey’s biggest teachers’ unions, said the wrong people were being targeted. Since the coup, 88 members of his Egitim-Sen union have been suspended.

“All of our members who have been suspended, rather than being supporters of Gulen, are on the contrary people who strive for secular education and a secular life,” said Karaca.

“We believe they were blacklisted because they deposited their rent in Bank Asya, or took a loan from it, or a relative took a loan from it.”

Gaye Usluer, a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party, criticised what she said was a “sweeping” crackdown that has also harmed people who may be innocent.

Candan Badem, a Marxist historian, was briefly detained for possessing a book by Gulen in his home, his lawyer told Reuters. He was later released. Badem signed an “Academics for Peace” petition this year that criticised military action in the largely Kurdish southeast.

Erdogan denounced the more than 1,000 signatories, which also included U.S. linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, and some Turkish academics were detained over it.

DEFENDING THE PURGE

Several academics and teachers declined to talk to Reuters about the purge, saying they were afraid to go on the record.

“The freedom to communicate and the freedom to collaborate are essential to functioning good science,” said Rush Holt of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who wrote an open letter to Erdogan urging protection of the rights of the scientific community.

The European University Association has said that measures introduced in the wake of coup “go in the wrong direction”.

Still, some academics defend the crackdown.

“Nobody knows where this illegal organisation starts and where it ends,” said Sedat Gumus, an associate professor at Necmettin Erbakan University in central Konya.

“In such a context, suspending many people from their jobs is understandable. In the investigation it will be revealed who was involved to what extent. If there are people who are falsely accused, they should be able to return to their jobs.”

(Editing by David Dolan and David Stamp)

Source: https://in.news.yahoo.com/turkeys-post-coup-purges-shake-higher-education-180414191–business.html

The list of universities and the number of the academics who have been sacked :

 

 

Abant İzzet Baysal University: 40
Abdullah Gül University: 12
Adıyaman University: 45
Adnan Menderes University: 22
Afyon Kocatepe University: 55
Ağrı İbrahim Cecen University: 14
Ahi Evran University: 11
Akdeniz University: 42
Aksaray University: 20
Alanya A Keykubad University: 45
Amasya University: 5
Anadolu University: 14
Ankara University: 22
Ardahan University: 4
Artvin Çoruh University: 6
Atatürk University: 26
Balıkesir University: 54
Bandırma On Yedi Eylul University: 9
Batman University: 1
Bayburt University: 12
Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University: 6
Bitlis Eren University: 2
Bozok University: 44
Bursa Teknik University: 4
Bülent Ecevit University: 32
Celal Bayar University: 111
Cumhuriyet University: 7
Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University: 77
Çukurova University: 4
Dokuz Eylül University: 1
Dumlupınar University: 32
Duzce University: 39
Ege University: 15
Erciyes University: 70
Erzincan University: 31
Eskişehir OsmanGazi University: 3
Fırat University: 25
Gazi University: 110
Gaziantep University: 92
Gaziosmanpaşa University: 19
Gebze Teknik University: 10
Giresun University: 6
Gümüşhane University: 17
Hacettepe University: 63
Harran University: 59
Hitit University: 23
İnönü University: 18
İskenderun Technical University: 3
İstanbul Medeniyet University: 20
İstanbul Teknik Universtiy: 12
İstanbul University: 169
İzmir Katip Çelebi University: 33
İzmir High Technology Institut: 5
Kafkas University: 10
Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University: 10
Karabük University: 41
Karadeniz Technical University: 15
Kahramanoglu Mehmet Bey University: 2
Kırklareli University: 32
Kilis 7 Aralık University: 3
Kocaeli University: 39
Maltepe University: 1
Mardin Artuklu University: 21
Marmara University: 47
Mehmet Akif Ersoy University: 9
Mersin University: 4
Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar University: 2
Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University: 3
Mustafa Kemal University: 43
Muş Alparslan University: 3
Namık Kemal University: 34
Necmettin Erbakan University: 39
Nevsehir Hacı Bektaş University: 12
Niğde University: 23
Ondokuz Mayıs University 16
Ordu University 4
Osmaniye Korkut Ata University: 3
Pamukkale University: 56
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University: 14
Sakarya University: 38
Selçuk University: 53
Siirt University: 32
Sinop University: 11
Süleyman Demirel University: 21
Şırnak University: 6
Trakya University: 1
Tunceli University: 10
Turkish German University: 1
Uludağ University: 12
Uşak University: 7
Yalova University: 28
Yıldırım Beyazıt University: 14
Yıldız Teknik University: 15
Yüzüncü Yıl University: 7

 

Source: Turkish Official Gazette

http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2016/09/20160901M1-1.htm

 

Turkey removes more than 10,000 security personnel, academics in purge

Turkish authorities have suspended about 8,000 security personnel and more than 2,000 academics, adding to a purge of people suspected of having links to perpetrators of a failed coup, the Official Gazette said on Friday.

Since the coup attempt in mid-July, in which rogue soldiers tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, Turkey has removed 80,000 people from public duty and arrested many of them, accusing them of sympathising with the plotters.

Of the security personnel removed in the latest purge, 323 were members of the gendarmerie and the rest police, according to the Official Gazette, in which the government publishes new laws and orders.

It said 2,346 more academics had been removed from universities. Hundreds of academics and others have already been swept from their posts, accused of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan says masterminded the coup.

About 3,300 judiciary officials have also been dismissed, leaving a depleted workforce to manage the legal process against a growing number of detainees.

The Gazette said retired judges and prosecutors would be allowed to return to work if they applied to do so in the next two months.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Edmund Blair; editing by John Stonestreet)

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/turkey-security-judiciary-idINKCN11808G

Why Is Turkey Accusing Me of Plotting a Coup?

WASHINGTON — On the night of July 15, elements of the Turkish military attempted a coup. It was a poorly organized effort that was defeated by a combination of people power, loyal units and serendipity. What made this failed effort remarkable was the putschists’ extreme brutality against civilians who resisted or happened to be in their way. Some 240 people were killed.

I was in Turkey at the time, leading a workshop on Buyukada, an island that is a 45-minute ferry ride from Istanbul. The workshop, which had been planned months earlier in conjunction with an Istanbul-based think tank, brought a small number of experts together to discuss Iran’s relations with its neighbors. Academic gatherings like these are important for my work, but I suspect most people would have thought it was pretty dull.

Some people in Turkey, however, saw something far more nefarious. They thought I was behind the mutiny.

Soon after the coup was defeated, my colleagues and I became the targets of sensationalist conspiracy theories promulgated by Turkey’s pro-government press. The accusations ranged from organizing the coup on behalf of the C.I.A. to setting up communication links for the plotters and, most implausibly, bringing a convicted murderer from California into Turkey to engage in evil deeds.

The coup attempt appears to have been carried out by a hodgepodge coalition of officers: some loyal to Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric who lives in Pennsylvania and was once an ally of the ruling party but is now its fiercest enemy, alongside strict secularists and some other opportunists who probably knew they would soon be dismissed from the military.

The Turkish people rejected the threat to their constitutional order. But in the weeks since, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has harnessed the trauma of the coup attempt to overhaul the state and its institutions. As millions have rallied to his side, he has begun to implement policies that had long been in the making, especially purging the Civil Service. The purge is only the first step: The real aim is to change the Constitution and create a presidential system with weak checks and balances, enabling Mr. Erdogan to rule unchallenged.

United States-Turkey relations are among the failed coup’s casualties. The decades-long Turkish-American relationship is based on more than just NATO membership. It is rendered strategic by a variety of transactions in almost every imaginable arena, from the environment to scientific research, cultural and educational exchanges, and important business ties.

This is all at risk now.

Turkish society has long been steeped in conspiracy theories, but the widespread stoking of anti-Americanism today is unprecedented. The accusations leveled at me and the other participants in our workshop — in the absence of any evidence — are cynical attempts to blame Washington and bully the United States into extraditing Mr. Gulen, and maybe even force it to abandon its support for the Kurds in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State.

What is most disturbing is that the attacks on me and the other academics appear to have been instigated by the government. The newspapers revealed details that only Turkish security services could have had access to, such as the exact time I crossed passport control entering and leaving Istanbul. Some of our Turkish colleagues have already been subjected to unfair retribution — suspended from their jobs or called in for interrogation. All of the participants in our conference have had our reputations unfairly damaged in Turkey and in the region. Abuse and threats have been pouring in through social media.

But beyond these petty attacks lies a more important issue. The Turkish press, which is almost totally controlled or influenced by the government, has come to characterize the United States as Turkey’s primary enemy. The government seems not to understand the long-term consequences of this.

Concerned about the safety of its citizens, the United States government has already announced a one-year suspension of Fulbright teaching fellowships to Turkey. Soon, civil society will pay a price, too, as opportunities for dialogue and space for honest analysis and critique, not to mention international business confidence, diminish.

The Obama administration clearly hopes that quiet diplomacy and time will somehow return things to normal. In dealing with Turkey, a difficult ally prone to gusts of emotion, Washington’s fallback option has always been to turn the other cheek. But this won’t work in today’s atmosphere of calculated hysteria.

Last week, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. went to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, in an attempt to mollify Mr. Erdogan and his government. It appears to have been a futile effort. On the same day the vice president arrived, the Turkish military went into Syria, where it is now fighting American-backed Kurdish forces. The anti-American conspiracy theories continue.

There’s another opportunity coming up. President Obama will meet on Sunday with his Turkish counterpart. Mr. Obama is the only American official who still carries weight in Turkey. When he speaks with Mr. Erdogan, he should address genuine Turkish concerns about the coup attempt. But he should also use the opportunity to forcefully — and publicly — demand an end to America-bashing before it is too late.

Support for Turkey’s Higher Education Community

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about the sweeping actions taken against Turkey’s higher education sector since the July 15 coup attempt.

Forced resignations, suspensions, detentions, and travel bans have reportedly affected thousands of individuals, in Turkey and abroad, and threaten the future of higher education in Turkey. In an August 2 letter of appeal SAR expressed grave concern over reports that hundreds of higher education professionals from over a dozen institutions have been detained incommunicado since the attempted coup and are at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment. SAR invites you show your support for detained scholars by signing our letter of appeal.

Since the coup attempt, an unprecedented number of Turkey’s scholars are facing threats to their careers, well-being, and constitutional right to academic freedom. Scholars at Risk has received over 100 applications from scholars from Turkey since July 15th, more than we received in the first 15 years of SAR’s existence. To apply for assistance or to refer a threatened colleague to SAR, please visit our Get Help page.

What you can do

Universities, associations, and higher education professionals around the world have expressed support for their colleagues in Turkey and are seeking ways to act. SAR has put together the below list of ways to take action in support of Turkey’s higher education community.

HIGHER EDUCATION & FOREIGN MINISTRIES, UN & INTER-STATE ENTITIES

  • Raise these issues with counterparts from and in Turkey
  • Place these issues on the agenda of appropriate international meetings
  • Offer material support to targeted higher education professionals, students and institutions
  • Support advocacy and education aimed at raising the visibility of these issues

HIGHER EDUCATION LEADERSHIP, ASSOCIATIONS, NETWORKS AND INSTITUTIONS

  • Raise these issues with counterparts from and in Turkey
  • Raise these issues with home government officials, UN and interstate entities
  • Place these issues on the agenda of appropriate national and international meetings
  • Organize or join statements of support for Turkey’s scholars, students and institutions
  • Commission articles or interviews on these issues for your magazines, newsletters and blogs
  • Organize or join public programming and events on these issues
  • Organize or join delegations to discuss these issues with counterparts in Turkey
  • Offer material support, including temporary fellowships, scholarships or visitorships, to targeted higher education professionals and students

FACULTY & STAFF

  • Raise these issues with counterparts from and in Turkey
  • Raise these issues with home government officials, UN and interstate entities
  • Raise these issues within your institution and professional associations
  • Place these issues on the agenda of appropriate institutional and professional meetings
  • Organize or join statements of support for Turkey’s scholars, students and institutions
  • Organize or join public programming and events on these issues
  • Write Op-eds, articles and essays for print and online media and institutional and professional association magazines, newsletters and blogs
  • Encourage your institutions to offer material support, including temporary fellowships, scholarships or visitorships, to targeted higher education professionals and students
  • Refer targeted higher education professionals seeking assistance to SAR
  • Report incidents in Turkey or elsewhere to the SAR Academic Freedom Monitoring Project
  • Lead a SAR Student Advocacy Seminar focused on academic freedom in Turkey
  • Follow SAR on Facebook and Twitter, and share relevant posts with friends and colleagues
  • Support advocacy and education aimed at raising the visibility of these issues by making a contribution to SAR

STUDENTS

  • Organize or join statements of support for Turkey’s scholars, students and institutions
  • Organize or join public programming and events on these issues on your campus
  • Encourage your institutions to offer material support, including temporary fellowships, scholarships or visitorships, to targeted higher education professionals and students
  • Organize a SAR Student Advocacy Seminar focused on academic freedom in Turkey
  • Follow SAR on Facebook and Twitter, and share relevant posts to keep your friends in the know
  • Support advocacy and education aimed at raising the visibility of these issues by making a contribution to SAR

For additional information, please contact us.

READ SAR’S JULY 19 STATEMENT ON EVENTS IN TURKEY

SIGN OUR LETTER OF APPEAL ON BEHALF OF DETAINED SCHOLARS IN TURKEY

Statement concerning universities in Turkey

The Magna Charta Observatory views the treatment of Turkish universities and academics by the Higher Education Council in the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15th with increasing concern. The latest reports refer to the forced resignation of 1577 university deans, and to suspensions and travel bans affecting many more academics and students.

flag_turkish

In January, the Observatory was one of 20 international education organisations which wrote to the Turkish President expressing concern. The letter expressed ‘grave concern about recent reports of widespread pressures on members of the Turkish higher education and research community, including investigations, arrests, interrogations, suspensions and termination of positions, in apparent violation of internationally recognized principles of academic freedom, free expression and freedom of association; principles on which quality higher education and research depend’. Recent measures taken by Turkish authorities after the coup attempt of July 15th signal a systemic mistrust of the higher education and research sector. This is seriously undermining its functioning in and to the benefit of society.

The Observatory exists to promote the fundamental values which have enabled universities world-wide to enrich their societies for generations. In summary these are that the university should be an autonomous institution; the research and teaching must be morally and intellectually independent of all political authority and economic power; teaching and research must be inseparable and there must be openness with freedom for staff and students with concomitant responsibility to society. Some 33 universities in Turkey have signed the Magna Charta Universitatum in which these values are expressed. It is of grave concern to the Observatory that these universities in particular and all universities in Turkey in general are not currently able to operate in accordance with these values.

The Observatory calls upon Turkish authorities to restore, guarantee and protect the institutional autonomy of universities and the academic freedom of academic staff and students. Open and independent academic communities are crucial to the wellbeing of a democratic society, also in times of crisis. This is precisely what our Turkish partner universities are committed to promote and protect. The Observatory also calls on the authorities to restore normal working conditions for academics and students including international co-operations so that universities can serve society fully.

 The Observatory expresses its support for academics in Turkey. It is exploring with other international educational bodies how it might best assist in the resolution of this grave situation and will be keeping the situation under review.

Council of the Magna Charta Observatory

Bologna

25 July 2016

source: http://www.magna-charta.org/publications-and-documents/observatory-publications/statement-concerning-universities-in-turkey

MESA Letter of Explanation regarding extraordinary measures against academics in Turkey

To whom it may concern:

We write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to explain the circumstances that currently affect Turkish academics who may be seeking positions outside of Turkey. MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent scholarly association in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has nearly 3000 members worldwide.

There has been a sharp deterioration in respect for academic freedom by the Turkish government that has affected public and private universities since at least January 2016, when the government began a series of reprisal actions against academics who signed a peace petition. The pattern of government-sponsored disciplinary actions, firings, interrogations, detentions and prosecutions that ensued against the signatories represented the beginning of a rapid deterioration in the conditions for research and teaching on Turkish university campuses. More recently, in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15-16, 2016, the Turkish government has undertaken actions that herald a massive and unprecedented assault on Turkish universities. One of the Middle East region’s leading systems of higher education is under severe threat as a result, as are the careers and livelihoods of many of its faculty members and academic administrators.

Since the events of July 15-16, 2016, the Turkish government has moved to purge government officials in the Ministry of Education and has called for the resignation of all university deans across the country’s public and private universities. As of this writing, more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry have been fired and nearly 1600 deans—1176 from public universities and 401 from private universities—have been asked to resign. In addition, 21,000 private school teachers have had their teaching licenses cancelled. Fifteen universities and over 1500 other educational institutions including private schools and dormitories have been closed by Turkish authorities and have had their assets seized. Further, local news reports indicate that dozens of academics have been detained in connection to the failed coup attempt. Amnesty International has stated that the over 13,000 people detained in connection with the coup investigation have endured coercive interrogations including beatings, forced stress positions, deprivation of food and medicine and even rape.

Beyond these measures targeting individuals in the education sector, a blanket travel ban has been imposed on academics across the country (in what may be a temporary measure), and Turkish academics abroad have been required to return to Turkey. Faculty across all disciplines may be affected by these measures. The scale of the travel restrictions, suspensions, imposed resignations, closures and asset seizures, detentions and interrogations impacting the education sector go much farther than the targeting of individuals who might have had any connection to the attempted coup.

In short, the crackdown on the education sector creates the appearance of a purge of all those deemed critical of the current government regardless of any purported association with the coup. Moreover, the removal of all of the deans across the country represents a direct assault on the institutional autonomy of Turkey’s universities. The replacement of every university’s administration simultaneously by the Higher Education Council, a body controlled by the Turkish executive branch, would give the government direct administrative control of all Turkish universities. Such concentration and centralization of power over all universities is clearly inimical to academic freedom.

In light of the unprecedented government attack against academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association and travel—and against the autonomy of universities in Turkey, Turkish scholars, researchers and academics may be left with no choice but to try to leave the country to continue their scholarly activities. The targeting of our Turkish colleagues in the academy amounts to collective punishment apparently designed to prevent the higher education sector from fostering independent or critical thinking and from remaining autonomous of government control. As a result, we encourage all universities outside of Turkey to welcome applications by Turkish scholars for a variety of temporary and permanent positions with an appreciation for the difficult circumstances that have forced them to seek employment opportunities abroad.

Sincerely,

Beth Baron
MESA President
Professor, City University of New York

Amy W. Newhall
MESA Executive Director
Associate Professor, University of Arizona

You can download the original letter