The week Turkish government closed down a total of 15 universities.

Resat Kasaba

Resat Kasaba

Dear Colleagues,

The week Turkish government closed down a total of 15 universities.   There are 165 universities in Turkey; 103 of them are public, 62 are private.  All the universities that have been closed down are private.  The government has stated that the students  will be placed in other private universities.  There is no word about the fate of thousands of faculty and researchers who are left without a job.  Among this group of academics, there are a few  who spent time at UW as visitors, Fulbright scholars, etc.  Also, some UW faculty collaborate with their counterparts in Turkey, some of who are now without a job.

The situation in Turkey is quite uncertain.  The universities that are closed down, and people who have been arrested (military and civilian) in this latest  wave are all claimed to be part of the  network that is controlled by Fethullah  Gulen who is supposed to be behind  the  coup.  The Gulen network has a complicated history and a complex and somewhat opaque structure. This forum is not the right place to go into that.   There is, however, a concern that the scope of the purges will become even wider they will continue to  ruin the lives of academics who  have no relationship to  the coup.

There are some letters that are circulating and some of you have signed them .  They  seem to make some difference in that the Turkey’s Higher Education Council felt compelled to  issue a clarification stating  that the earlier  firing of the Deans was done not as a punitive  measure but in order to better protect the faculty (!)

Also, there  is a US-wide  effort to work with Scholars at Risk, but I am told that UW is not a member  of that organization.

Resat Kasaba, Professor, International Studies

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