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CAUT decries arrest of Carleton University student in Turkey

(Ottawa – September 28, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanding the immediate release of Cihan Erdal, a Carleton University doctoral student who was visiting Istanbul when he was arrested along with dozens of other academics and politicians for unknown reasons on September 25.

“Mr. Erdal was in Turkey to visit family and to conduct fieldwork as part of his doctoral research in Canada. His research on youth-led social movements in Europe, including in Turkey, focused on the stories of young activists,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson in a letter. “CAUT condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the actions taken against Mr. Erdal and is calling on the Turkish government to immediately drop all charges against him and the other 81 academics, politicians, and activists.”

Carleton’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology is also urging Canadian and Turkish authorities to facilitate release of Erdal and the 81 others arrested, and to ensure Erdal’s safe return to Canada, where he is a permanent resident. Hundreds of scholars have already signed on to the Department’s petition.

Erdal is likely being targeted for events dating to 2014 in which he — along with the other 81 individuals who were detained — was a signatory to a letter calling for the Turkish government to step in to protect a Kurdish town from ISIS attacks.