The MESA Committee on Academic Freedom has been following with alarm the deteriorating situation for academics in Turkey and has created this Resource Page to provide additional information to MESA members and affected academics concerning ongoing developments.


REports by Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV)

13 December 2019 - Post-coup crackdown has crippled Turkish academia is an article about the TIHV study conducted by 12 academics which has shown that 6,081 academics were dismissed from universities in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt in 2016. The article references these two reports:  

Summary of Initiatives on Turkey

30 March 2017 - Report of new initiatives to help imperiled Turkish scholars and a summary of MESA’s activities through the Board and the MENA wing of the Committee on Academic Freedom in support of academic freedom in Turkey. 

Letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry Ahead of His Visit to Turkey

19 August 2016 - MESA Board of Directors expressed concern about measures taken against Turkish universities and academics in the aftermath of the July 15 attempted coup. 

Statement on Crisis to Higher Education and Academic Freedom in Turkey

21 July 2016 — MESA, along with other scholarly societies, issued a statement regarding the threats to higher education and academic freedom in Turkey following the attemped coup of July 15-16. 

Urgent Call for Action on Behalf of Turkish Colleagues

15 January 2016 — The Middle East Studies Association’s Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) calls on MESA members to respond to an unprecedented assault on academics and academic freedom in Turkey. Last week a group of 1128 Turkish scholars (together with over 355 academics outside of Turkey) signed a petition for peace in the Kurdish regions of the country.  In the wake of its publication, President Erdoǧan criticized it in a public address, and called the signatories “traitors”.  Within a day of this speech several universities initiated punitive measures against faculty who had signed the “Peace Petition,” and several signatories, at both public and private universities, have reportedly been removed from their positions solely for signing the petition. On 14 January, the Istanbul Public Prosecution Office launched a criminal investigation of ALL the signatories of this petition under Article 301 of the Penal Code and Article 7 of the Anti-terror Law alleging “terrorist organization propaganda.”  Since then arrests, threats of physical violence and death, as well as other serious forms of intimidation against the signers have escalated dramatically. MESA’s CAF will continue monitoring and reporting on the situation and we call on our members to offer any form of support possible to colleagues who have come under attack as part of this campaign in Turkey. Please distribute this message through your networks and ask others to assist with getting the word out. 

See CAF’s Letter to Turkish Prime Minister concerning Turkish Higher Education Council's condemnation of a peace petition signed by academics as "terrorist propaganda" triggering a series of disciplinary investigations at various universities, and initiation of criminal investigations, against signatory faculty members.

General information

  • Bianet article summarizing and quoting the Turkish academics signing a petition beginning “We will not be party to this crime” (Bu suça ortak olmayacağız) petition (in English) 
  • International Solidarity for "Academics for Peace" Blog

News Coverage

A sampling from various news sites (MESA is not affiliated with any of these sites)

From Times Higher Education:

From Hurrieyet Daily News:

From InsideHigher Ed:

From The Guardian:

From Bianet:

From The New York Times:

Statements, Letters, and Panels by other Academic Societies and Organizations

Documents & Links


Stay Connected

MESA offers several ways to stay connected: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, as well as listservs and trusty email notifications. To find out more, please follow the link below.

Connect Now