Mass dismissals, arrests – the Turkish President Erdogan has been going through months of severe reprisals against employees at universities. Now there is a new arresting wave in Istanbul.
According to media reports, the Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 103 scientists in Istanbul. In the center of the investigation is the Technical University Yildiz, reported the station NTV on Friday. The state news agency Anadolu reported that more than 70 academics had already been arrested at several simultaneous raids in Istanbul.
The scientists are accused of membership in a terrorist organization. They are concerned with the alleged connections with the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the USA. Turkey is responsible for the putsch attempt of 15 July. Gulen repudiated this accusation.
The police had carried out raids in the offices of the concerned staff on the university campus in Istanbul, it said. Their houses had also been searched. After the coup attempt, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan removed tens of thousands of suspected Gülens from the state service in Turkey and had tens of thousands of people arrested – in the media, the military, the judiciary and also in education. At the same time, staff from universities were increasingly exposed to massive reprisals.
HRK President: A terrifyingly long list of repressions
In Germany, this trend is growing with increasing concern. “Closing of 15 universities, the dismissal of several thousand university employees, the imposition of abandonment bans, the arrest of several hundred university members, the dismissal of freely elected rectors – the list of state repression against our Turkish colleagues is terribly long,” warns Horst Hippler , President of the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK).
He condemned the action “in the strongest terms” and urged Turkey to restore the universally valid academic freedoms. “Independent research, fear-free teaching and learning, and open dialogue serve the development of society, both in Germany and Turkey, and are the basis for the important German-German scientific relations,” says Hippler.
He particularly criticized the dismissal of several teachers of the German-Turkish universities in Istanbul in early November. “These and other repressions endanger the basis of this project in which 35 HRK member schools are engaged. A Turkish-German university in which the protection of academic freedoms is not guaranteed is unthinkable.”