28 July 2016, No. 15/2016

Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany denounces drastic interventions in the academic freedom of Turkish researchers

Statement issued by the Alliance of Science Organisations

The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany strongly denounces the drastic interventions in the academic freedom of Turkish researchers which have ensued directly from various measures taken by the Turkish government since the attempted coup in the night of 16 July. These measures not only include the at least temporary restriction of researchers’ movement but also the politically motivated removal of researchers and rectors from their institutions through to the forced resignation of all deans.

Whilst the demand made by Turkey’s Council of Higher Education that all university staff currently researching and teaching abroad should return to their own country has since been rescinded, the fact that a directive of this kind should have been implemented for a short time signals a loss of confidence in the protection of Turkish researchers’ academic freedom that will be hard to overcome. Reliable collaborations across national borders are a necessary precondition for successful academic work. Unrestricted movement for scientists is crucially linked to this; everyone concerned benefits from such exchange. In this difficult situation, the German universities and research institutions will continue to provide individual support for the Turkish researchers working with them.

In a very short time, already existing tendencies to restrict academic freedom in Turkey have become dramatically pronounced due to the escalation of the political situation. The positive overall development of science in Turkey and the international networking of the Turkish science system, amongst others with German scientific institutions, are acutely endangered.

The Alliance of Science Organisations calls on the Government of Turkey to conduct its ongoing investigations into the participation of universities and research institutions in the attempted coup strictly within the framework of legitimate constitutional procedures.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 52 Nobel Prize winners.

Contact

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441
presse(at)avh.de

Caroline Wichmann
German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
Head of Department Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +49 345 472 39-800
Fax: +49 345 472 39-809
caroline.wichmann(at)leopoldina.org