Feb 20 2018

Turkish universities’ reputations collapse - paper

The international reputation of Turkish universities has seen a dramatic fall since the failed coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016, the Abu Dhabi-based The National reported.

Three years ago, six universities were ranked in the Times Educational Supplement’s global top 300. Today there are none.

Part of the reason for the collapse in the rankings is that in the post-coup crackdown and the introduction of emergency powers more than 5,800 academics have lost their positions.

Even before the coup attempt nearly 500 academic staff were sacked or forced to leave their jobs for signing an Academics for Peace petition. Of the 1,128 signatories criticising security operations in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast, 148 have been charged with making terrorist propaganda and face up to seven-and-a-half years behind bars.

Noemi Levy-Aksu, a dual French-Turkish national lost her post at Bosphorus University after signing the petition.

"There's the fear for many of the signatories who don't know if they will be dismissed or not," she said. "There’s also the fear of denunciation by students or others via a website set up by the government to report people."

Another signatory who remained anonymous explained that the situation in Turkey had led to a drop in foreign academics willing to work in Turkey as well as a rise in the number of Turkish academics seeking to leave.

"A lot of people are really tired, exhausted in terms of the whole political environment and the interference in what we do as academic work," the faculty member said. "People are looking for fellowships and short-term placements outside of Turkey to keep themselves sane."  

The number of Turkish research articles fell by 28 percent last year according to the London-based Freedom for Academia.