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Concern over clamp down on Turkish academics

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to the government of Turkey to protest actions taken against academics who signed a statement critical of military actions in the Kurdish region.

Turkish authorities have reportedly initiated investigations against nearly 1,200 academics throughout the country for signing a Peace Declaration issued on January 10, 2016. The Declaration calls for renewed efforts to end the violence between government forces and Kurdish separatists.

“The action taken against the signatories of the Peace Declaration represents an unacceptable attack on academic freedom and freedom of expression,” CAUT says in its letter to the Turkish Ambassador to Canada. “We remind you that the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel guarantees academics freedom of teaching and discussion, no matter how controversial, as well as freedom of expression, assembly and association without reprisal or penalty.”

CAUT is urging the government of Turkey to fully respect civil liberties and academic freedom by immediately ceasing its investigation against the academics in question.