Scholars Targeted in Turkey "War on Terror"

One particularly troubling aspect of Turkey’s own “War on Terror” is the way that it has targeted a wide range of individuals with no record of violence.  Virtually anyone critical of the government may be arrested.

A recent speech by Interior Minister, İdris Naim Şahin, made clear that terrorism includes “[writing] poems or short articles [which] demoralize the soldiers or police” and that terrorist cells can include “a university chair, an association, or a non-governmental organization” in “Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, Germany, London, wherever…”

This rhetoric reflects an ugly reality: thousands of individuals have been arrested, with most held in lengthy pre-trial detentions.  Most are not accused of violence and none have the right to challenge evidence in advance of their trial.

Turkish scholars and students have been particularly hard hit.  The cases of world-renowned scholars like Büşra Ersanlı have garnered the most attention, but no university campus has been untouched.  Student Berna Yılmaz, for example, has been in custody for over twenty months for having opened up a placard in favor of free education during a campus visit by Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdoğan.  Sadly, she is not alone.  It is estimated that five hundred or more university students are held in pre-trial detention in Turkey.

Internationally, professional associations and watchdog groups are sounding the alarm.  The Middle East Studies Association, for example, notes that these arrests are part of an “effort to silence scholars.”  Similar statements of concern have come from Nature, one of the premier journals in the life sciences, and PEN International.  In response to these events, scholars in France initiated the Groupe International de Travail to chronicle attacks on scholars and scholarship in Turkey.  Sister groups are developing worldwide, including a North American branch that was announced only this week, along with a new presence on facebook.

With all the attention being paid to Turkey’s newly assertive role in international politics, too little attention has been paid to its growing repression at home.  But the threat is real.  It will not go unchallenged.

If you are interested in the issue of Human Rights in Turkey, consider joining us on our Turkey Regional Action Network on Facebook.

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16 thoughts on “Scholars Targeted in Turkey "War on Terror"

  1. Sad but true, there is no freedom of speech in Turkey. Along with jailed journalists who dared to write a book about Fethullah Gulen (Imam Ordusu) there are over 40 Kurdish lawyers in jail as well as over 500 Kurdish children under the age of 15.

    The Gulen Movement works into "the arteries of the system until they reach all power centers" they aim to own education, media, politics, judicary system, interfaith dialog, etc., they have done this nicely in Turkey but struggle for the military.

    In the USA they have over 130 charter schools, siphoning money out of the USA to pay for Turkey to bomb Kurds. http://www.gulenscharterschools.weebly.com http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

  2. Sad but true, there is no freedom of speech in Turkey. Along with jailed journalists who dared to write a book about Fethullah Gulen (Imam Ordusu) there are over 40 Kurdish lawyers in jail as well as over 500 Kurdish children under the age of 15.

    The Gulen Movement works into "the arteries of the system until they reach all power centers" they aim to own education, media, politics, judicary system, interfaith dialog, etc., they have done this nicely in Turkey but struggle for the military.

    In the USA they have over 130 charter schools, siphoning money out of the USA to pay for Turkey to bomb Kurds. http://www.gulenscharterschools.weebly.com http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

  3. Sad but true, there is no freedom of speech in Turkey. Along with jailed journalists who dared to write a book about Fethullah Gulen (Imam Ordusu) there are over 40 Kurdish lawyers in jail as well as over 500 Kurdish children under the age of 15.

    The Gulen Movement works into "the arteries of the system until they reach all power centers" they aim to own education, media, politics, judicary system, interfaith dialog, etc., they have done this nicely in Turkey but struggle for the military.

    In the USA they have over 130 charter schools, siphoning money out of the USA to pay for Turkey to bomb Kurds. http://www.gulenscharterschools.weebly.com http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

  4. Sad but true, there is no freedom of speech in Turkey. Along with jailed journalists who dared to write a book about Fethullah Gulen (Imam Ordusu) there are over 40 Kurdish lawyers in jail as well as over 500 Kurdish children under the age of 15.

    The Gulen Movement works into “the arteries of the system until they reach all power centers” they aim to own education, media, politics, judicary system, interfaith dialog, etc., they have done this nicely in Turkey but struggle for the military.

    In the USA they have over 130 charter schools, siphoning money out of the USA to pay for Turkey to bomb Kurds.
    http://www.gulenscharterschools.weebly.com
    http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

  5. I know the editors could not scrutinize everything but the previous replier Prof. Kazler (who voices some truths) lists Mein Kampf as his favorite book and a Turkish fascist propaganda movie as his favorite movie.
    Should he be allowed to advertise his website on AI?

  6. Merhaba Sabri;
    Mein Kampf is the most popular book in Turkiye, it is not my favorite book. Nevertheless it is amusing to see the depths to how low you will take your paltry argumentation. I smell desperation for Hizmet, wasn't the arrest of Sema Foundation enough for you? The denial of your charter schools?

    These blogs are citing news sources and have backup.

    Lets not get away from the core of this article, the assault of the Gulen Movement upon Freedom of Speech and attempted censorship of education.

    stay focused and don't be swayed by their silly outrageous argumentation.

    This page is about Human Rights Violations and Gulen and his police controls in Turkey are responsible for these arrests. Soon it will catch up with them, cruelty to our citizens will not be tolerated.

  7. I know the editors could not scrutinize everything but the previous replier Prof. Kazler (who voices some truths) lists Mein Kampf as his favorite book and a Turkish fascist propaganda movie as his favorite movie.
    Should he be allowed to advertise his website on AI?

  8. Merhaba Sabri;
    Mein Kampf is the most popular book in Turkiye, it is not my favorite book. Nevertheless it is amusing to see the depths to how low you will take your paltry argumentation. I smell desperation for Hizmet, wasn’t the arrest of Sema Foundation enough for you? The denial of your charter schools?

    These blogs are citing news sources and have backup.

    Lets not get away from the core of this article, the assault of the Gulen Movement upon Freedom of Speech and attempted censorship of education.

    stay focused and don’t be swayed by their silly outrageous argumentation.

    This page is about Human Rights Violations and Gulen and his police controls in Turkey are responsible for these arrests. Soon it will catch up with them, cruelty to our citizens will not be tolerated.

  9. Wow what a critic, or should I say mudslinger! It is not my paltry argumentation it is your fascination with fascism, Mein Kampf and Kurtlar Vadisi that I draw attention to. So what if Mein Kampf is popular in Turkey? That makes it a good book? What does it tell about you, your ilk, and Turkey.

    I stand with my point: Amnesty's pages, even if they are virtual, should not be open to any kind of fascist propaganda. Period.

  10. Wow what a critic, or should I say mudslinger! It is not my paltry argumentation it is your fascination with fascism, Mein Kampf and Kurtlar Vadisi that I draw attention to. So what if Mein Kampf is popular in Turkey? That makes it a good book? What does it tell about you, your ilk, and Turkey.

    I stand with my point: Amnesty’s pages, even if they are virtual, should not be open to any kind of fascist propaganda. Period.

  11. Fascination with Fascism?
    I think that is Gulen you are refering to who ordered the killing of Kurdish people
    and the arrest of Journalists and Lawyers.

    Where is the propaganda? It can be found in Today's Zaman, ERBU TV, Fountain Publishing and other Gulencis owned media.

    WE stand with our points, Amnesty is on track and knows who is the leader of Fascism is- and that is controversial exiled (yes EXILED) Imam Muhammed Fethullah Gulen. Ask Hocaefendi why he doesn't go back to his beloved Turkiye?

    Maybe it has to do with his tyranny hate speechs like the famous:
    "You must work into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers"
    or his Turkish Olympiads and arrogant belief that children worldwide must learn Turkish that Kurds must not speak in their native tongue.

    "7 billion people one language"
    you and your cult are dreaming of restoring a "golden generation" of a neo Ottoman Empire. All Empires have and will be destroyed, usually through self-destruction.

    The latest NY Times Article says it all about your group. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/world/europe/tu

    In the true Hizmet fashion, you will attack the article as "untrue". Remember the USA isn't Turkey and you will NOT have any journalists arrested.

  12. Fascination with Fascism?
    I think that is Gulen you are refering to who ordered the killing of Kurdish people
    and the arrest of Journalists and Lawyers.

    Where is the propaganda? It can be found in Today's Zaman, ERBU TV, Fountain Publishing and other Gulencis owned media.

    WE stand with our points, Amnesty is on track and knows who is the leader of Fascism is- and that is controversial exiled (yes EXILED) Imam Muhammed Fethullah Gulen. Ask Hocaefendi why he doesn't go back to his beloved Turkiye?

    Maybe it has to do with his tyranny hate speechs like the famous:
    "You must work into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers"
    or his Turkish Olympiads and arrogant belief that children worldwide must learn Turkish that Kurds must not speak in their native tongue.

    "7 billion people one language"
    you and your cult are dreaming of restoring a "golden generation" of a neo Ottoman Empire. All Empires have and will be destroyed, usually through self-destruction.

    The latest NY Times Article says it all about your group. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/world/europe/tu

    In the true Hizmet fashion, you will attack the article as "untrue". Remember the USA isn't Turkey and you will NOT have any journalists arrested.

  13. Fascination with Fascism?
    I think that is Gulen you are refering to who ordered the killing of Kurdish people
    and the arrest of Journalists and Lawyers.

    Where is the propaganda? It can be found in Today's Zaman, ERBU TV, Fountain Publishing and other Gulencis owned media.

    WE stand with our points, Amnesty is on track and knows who is the leader of Fascism is- and that is controversial exiled (yes EXILED) Imam Muhammed Fethullah Gulen. Ask Hocaefendi why he doesn't go back to his beloved Turkiye?

    Maybe it has to do with his tyranny hate speechs like the famous:
    "You must work into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers"
    or his Turkish Olympiads and arrogant belief that children worldwide must learn Turkish that Kurds must not speak in their native tongue.

    "7 billion people one language"
    you and your cult are dreaming of restoring a "golden generation" of a neo Ottoman Empire. All Empires have and will be destroyed, usually through self-destruction.

    The latest NY Times Article says it all about your group. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/world/europe/tu

    In the true Hizmet fashion, you will attack the article as "untrue". Remember the USA isn't Turkey and you will NOT have any journalists arrested.

  14. As a rule, I don't respond to posts on the boards. That said, it seems to me that Professor Kazler is engaging in a disingenuous misreading of my text, in which I do not mention the Gulen Movement at all. While it is clear that the Gulen movement has a significant following within the ruling AKP, to simply conflate the Turkish state and the Gulen Movement is mistaken.

  15. Fascination with Fascism?
    I think that is Gulen you are refering to who ordered the killing of Kurdish people
    and the arrest of Journalists and Lawyers.

    Where is the propaganda? It can be found in Today’s Zaman, ERBU TV, Fountain Publishing and other Gulencis owned media.

    WE stand with our points, Amnesty is on track and knows who is the leader of Fascism is- and that is controversial exiled (yes EXILED) Imam Muhammed Fethullah Gulen. Ask Hocaefendi why he doesn’t go back to his beloved Turkiye?

    Maybe it has to do with his tyranny hate speechs like the famous:
    “You must work into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers”
    or his Turkish Olympiads and arrogant belief that children worldwide must learn Turkish that Kurds must not speak in their native tongue.

    “7 billion people one language”
    you and your cult are dreaming of restoring a “golden generation” of a neo Ottoman Empire. All Empires have and will be destroyed, usually through self-destruction.

    The latest NY Times Article says it all about your group.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/world/europe/turkeys-glow-dims-as-government-limits-free-speech.html?pagewanted=2&_r=

    In the true Hizmet fashion, you will attack the article as “untrue”. Remember the USA isn’t Turkey and you will NOT have any journalists arrested.

  16. As a rule, I don’t respond to posts on the boards. That said, it seems to me that Professor Kazler is engaging in a disingenuous misreading of my text, in which I do not mention the Gulen Movement at all. While it is clear that the Gulen movement has a significant following within the ruling AKP, to simply conflate the Turkish state and the Gulen Movement is mistaken.