Three Scholars Jailed, One Deported in Turkey

March 17, 2016

Three Turkish academics who held a press conference affirming their support for a January petition opposing a military campaign against Kurdish separatists have been jailed for allegedly “making terrorist propaganda.” A British computer scientist who came to the police station in a show of support for the three scholars has also been detained and deported after 25 years living in Turkey, according to reports from Nature News and the Associated Press.

The three Turkish academics being held in jail are Kivanc Ersoy, a mathematician at Mimar Sinan University, Muzaffer Kaya, a political scientist from Nisantasi University, and Esra Mungan, a psychologist at Bogazici University. The British national who was deported after being found to have invitations to Kurdish New Year celebrations in his bag is Chris Stephenson, a computer science lecturer at Istanbul's Bilgi University.

The jailings and deportation are the latest actions taken against the more than 1,000 Turkish professors who signed the Academics for Peace petition. Scholars who signed were accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of “treason” and have faced a range of repercussions, including criminal investigations and university-level disciplinary proceedings. Some of the signatories have been dismissed or suspended from their academic positions.

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