Update on Academics in Turkey
First of all, we would like to thank those who have shown up, spoke up and shared ideas and experiences with us during the ISPP and EASP conferences this past summer. We are working on creating an efficient online solidarity and feedback system for local as well as international colleagues who are at risk. We will have more updates on this in the coming months.
If this is the first time that you read about the ongoing repression and loss of rights and freedom of academics in Turkey, we suggest that you also read our previous letters:
- EASP joins and supports ISPP initiative
- The Social and Political Psychology Platform of Turkey gives updates about the situation of academics in Turkey
More importantly, we have an urgent update regarding the Peace Declaration academics signed last year. As the situation is worsening, the repression on academics is also growing. Governmental bodies have started to launch individual lawsuits based on allegations of terrorist propaganda for Peace Declaration signatories, as well as charges of inciting students to revolt among those working in the Solidarity Academies. So far, one ISPP member has received their indictment, though others are expected to receive theirs in the coming months. The first trials will start in December. Please find the details in these links:
- Individual lawsuits launched against Peace Declaration signatory academics
- Academics Signing Peace Declaration Sued for ‘Terrorist Propaganda’
Individual lawsuits, rather than one that would encompass all the academics, functions to isolate and weaken the solidarity among academics. Academics for Peace already declared that they will stand together in these individual lawsuits as well. However, one of the biggest concerns is the removal of their passports, thereby locking them in the country, preventing their right to international mobility. An international community voice would be critical to create pressure on the government and to spread the word in order to keep an eye on academics at risk and their legal processes, as the injustice is now reigning more than ever in the legal system of Turkey.
Although conditions are worsening and our possibilities to continue our academic lives are threatened, we also have some promising news: Solidarity Academies around Turkey have started to collaborate and create common spaces and programmes outside of universities (https://bianet.org/english/human-rights/190281-solidarity-academies-to-start-new-academic-year). Please do not hesitate to contact us or directly solidarity academies to show solidarity by giving lectures or joining the collaborations.
How to Support Academics in Turkey
We hope you can continue to actively support academics in Turkey. Here is a reminder and a follow-up of how you can do this:
- Commissioning universities and diplomatic relations to prepare short term work possibilities, research grants or research asylums abroad to help psychologists to continue their academic work.
- Providing small to mid-scale research funds for the psychologists who have been banned from leaving Turkey, to help them to pursue their research in Turkey and sustain their livelihoods and scholarly careers.
- Sharing daily/weekly social media reports on developments related to the state of emergency in Turkey and to the violation of multiple rights.
- Providing honorary memberships or affiliated memberships for psychologists banned from academia to help them preserve their academic titles. (New additional remark: If possible and/or applicable, international pairing partners can take initiative to ask their partner in Turkey whether they would need/want honorary affiliation)
- Holding round table meetings in future conferences regarding academic freedom
- Skype and recorded video options (and free-registration to conferences) for colleagues who are not allowed to go to international meetings
- Donating to support academics who have been purged from their positions. You can donate either through a direct donation to the Education and Science Workers’ Union (see the picture: IBAN number on the right side, for those in Europe) or through the following link: https://www.youcaring.com/academicsforpeaceinturkey-763983. Both will go to the same source.
In hope to stay in International Solidarity!
Social and Political Psychology Platform of Turkey