American Political Science Association lends support to Turkish colleagues
DHA photoThe American Political Science Association (APSA) has written an open letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, criticizing the measures against at least 1,128 Turkish academics who signed a petition calling for an end to ongoing military operations in the country’s southeast.
“On behalf of the American Political Science Association, we write to express our alarm and deepest concern regarding reports of punitive measures, including detentions and criminal investigations, launched against Turkish academics who signed a petition addressing Turkish government policies in southeastern Turkey,” read the letter.
The group urged the president to end the measures against the petition’s signatories and “ensure the safety and well-being of scholars in Turkey, and to ensure academic freedom remains a component of Turkey’s commitment to higher education.”
The American Political Science Association is a scholarly association that represents more than 13,000 U.S. and internationally based professors and students of political science.
“Our membership includes scholars within Turkey and scholars of Turkish politics,” the letter said.
“We understand from media reports that Turkish government officials and the Council of Higher Education [YÖK] denounced the peace petition and its over 1000 signatories, including scholars of politics and political science,” it said.
“We respectfully urge the government of Turkey to take all steps to fulfill its duties to protect free expression and academic freedom by ending all measures to penalize signatories of the petition. We also urge the government to ensure signatories are protected against public threats of bodily harm that have been made against them.”
The signatories of the Turkish petition came under Erdoğan’s and the government’s fire, as Erdoğan has accused them of betraying the country and using the language of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The letter was also sent to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kılıç, U.S Ambassador to John Bass, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs U.S. Department of State Victoria Nuland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.