Support for Turkish Academics

January 25, 2016

President Erdoğan:

On behalf of the Council for European Studies (CES), an academic consortium of more than 100 member institutions worldwide and with over 1600 individual members, we would like to express our deepest concern over the recent detentions and criminal investigations of fellow Turkish scholars and academics following their recent petition (“We Will not be a Party to this Crime”) concerning government policies in southeastern Turkey. It has also come to our attention that the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) in Turkey has taken additional drastic measures and suspended or forced academics to resign from their posts at Turkish institutions.

It is the mission of the CES to produce world-class interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research, and we therefore strongly support academic freedom and freedom of expression. The repressive actions thus far taken against the Turkish scholars involved in the petition represent a very serious affront to these fundamental values, go against internationally recognized standards of academic freedom and freedom of expression, and raise serious questions about the viability of the Turkish academy and research community. Turkish scholars and scholars of Turkey have long played an important role at CES and we hope that they will continue to do so in the future.

We therefore hope you will intervene in these matters before any more harm is done to these scholars or to Turkish intellectual life more generally. In particular, we hope that you will intercede to end the prosecution of the signatories of the “We Will not be a Party to this Crime” petition and reaffirm Turkey’s commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression.


Sheri Berman, PhD, Chair of the Executive Committee
Juan Díez Medrano, PhD, Advisory Chair
Jason Beckfield, PhD, Treasurer
Erik Bleich, PhD
Jan Willem Duyvendak, PhD 
Virginie Guiraudon, PhD
Julia Lynch, PhD
Isabela Mares, PhD
Deborah Reed-Danahay, PhD
Nicole Shea, PhD, Director