Turkish academics need foreign help - U.K. lecturer

Masi Noor, a British academic who attended the trial of pro-peace academics in Turkey, said the Turkish government is depriving its critics of their livelihood and personhood.

In Jan. 2016, 1,128 scholars signed a petition calling on the government to seek a peaceful resolution to the violent conflict in the Kurdish southeast.

The government promptly cracked down on the “Academics for Peace” group, dismissing them from university positions, revoking their passports, and denying them pension rights and social benefits.

Noor, a lecturer in psychology at Keele University, wrote in the Times Higher Education supplement that Turkish academics are now being tried for “treason” and “connection to a terrorist organisation” and face seven years in prison.

Foreign academics should stand in solidarity with their Turkish counterparts by being present at their trials and discussing potential research collaboration with them, Noor said.

Universities outside Turkey could offer visiting fellowship positions for their Turkish colleagues, and the UK’s education minister should demand that the Turkish government return the right to academic freedom and cancel all dismissals immediately, he said.