In a unanimous vote, the board of officers of the American Philosophical Association (APA) has joined the statement by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) condemning the Turkish government’s intensifying attack on academic freedom. In doing so, the APA joined 50 other organizations from around the world in expressing concern regarding the Turkish government’s actions and support for the rights of Turkish scholars. The letter reads, in part:
As scholarly associations, we are committed to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression….The crackdown on the education sector creates the appearance of a purge of those deemed inadequately loyal to the current government. Moreover, the removal of all of the deans across the country represents a direct assault on the institutional autonomy of Turkey’s universities. The replacement of every university’s administration simultaneously by the executive-controlled Higher Education Council would give the government direct administrative control of all Turkish universities. Such concentration and centralization of power over all universities is clearly inimical to academic freedom….
As scholarly organizations, we collectively call for respect for academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association and travel—and the autonomy of universities in Turkey, offer our support to our Turkish colleagues, second the Middle East Studies Association’s “call for action” of January 15, request that Turkey’s diplomatic interlocutors (both states and international organizations) advocate vigorously for the rights of Turkish scholars and the autonomy of Turkish universities, suggest other scholarly organizations speak forcefully about the threat to the Turkish academy, and alert academic institutions throughout the world that Turkish colleagues are likely to need moral and substantive support in the days ahead.
The APA has a longstanding commitment to defend the professional rights of philosophers. The board’s opposition to the threats facing scholars in Turkey is in keeping with the APA’s broader support for philosophers whose professional rights are at risk. Please read the entire letter on the MESA website, and share these developments with colleagues.