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UCU calls on Turkish authorities to end academic freedom violations after purge of education staff

20 July 2016 | last updated: 22 July 2016

UCU has called on the Turkish authorities to end violations of academic freedom following mass sackings and calls for resignations from the country's education system.

Following the failed coup, the government has suspended more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry and more than 1,500 university deans were asked to resign. Human Rights Watch has said the speed and scale of the arrests suggests a purge rather than a process based on any evidence.

The union is writing to the Turkish Embassy to set out its concerns and said the latest actions come as over 1,200 academics are already under some form of criminal or disciplinary investigation for signing a petition calling for renewed peace negotiations with the Kurds.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU is seriously alarmed at reports that over 15,000 teachers and education workers have been suspended by the Turkish government. We are also very concerned at reports that the Turkish Council of Higher Education has demanded the resignation of over 1,500 university deans.

'While we reject the attempted coup, the Turkish government has to recognise and demonstrate that democracy is the only answer. The number of arrests raises serious questions about respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

'These latest actions come on top of a serious assault on academic freedom within Turkish universities and hundreds of academics already under some form of criminal or disciplinary investigation.'

UCU letter to Turkish ambassador on violations of academic freedom in Turkey, Jul 16 [46kb]