Turkey sacks thousands of university staff. Academics complain that reaction to failed coup is hurting science.
Turkey’s government has sacked 2,346 university staff for suspected ties to July’s attempted military coup in the country.
The sackings, announced in a 1 September decree as part of a wider purge of 40,000 civil servants, are the first of an expected wave of dismissals under powers granted by state-of-emergency rules following the coup. Those fired are unable to appeal, cannot hold any government positions in the future, and will have their passports revoked.
Turkey’s government has blamed the Gülen movement — a religious organization — for the coup attempt. But academics have protested that some of those now being fired are not Gülen followers, but simply opponents of particular government policies. More than 40 of those sacked, for example, had in January signed an ‘Academics for Peace’ petition that had called for an end to violence between government forces and Kurdish separatists. / Read more at Nature.
In July, the YÖK had also ordered all 1,577 of the country’s university deans to leave their posts; although they may reapply for their jobs, the move seemed designed to tighten Erdoğan’s political control of the higher education sector. And it told all academics who were out of the country to return home. Meanwhile, the science agency TÜBİTAK has suspended its fellowships and postponed all major project-funding calls.
The Association of University Councils says that the government’s measures after the coup are “systematically harming science in Turkey”.