Skip to main content

Is a witch hunt underway against Turkish intellectuals?

Following the arrests of Turkish academics who had signed a petition in support of the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, the country is facing an unprecedented 'civil war.'
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest outside the headquarters of Cumhuriyet newspaper whose editor-in-chief Can Dundar was arrested on charges of espionage and terrorist propaganda, in Istanbul, Turkey, November 29, 2015.  REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX1WD43

A petition signed by 1,128 Turkish academics and supported by scores of world-class intellectuals ranging from Noam Chomsky to Immanuel Wallerstein and Etienne Balibar has exposed the prevailing nationalistic and jingoistic frenzy in Turkey. But much more important than that, it indicated that the authoritarian drift of the Turkish regime is moving into a stage of totalitarianism that reminds one of passages from George Orwell’s "1984."

It all began with a press conference held simultaneously in Istanbul and Ankara by academics from various Turkish universities. They announced the petition signed by 1,128 academics from different fields at universities in Turkey and abroad, including Turkish scholars affiliated with Harvard University, Cambridge University, Humboldt University of Berlin, Paris-Sorbonne University and many others from Stockholm to Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Milan. They stated that they were part of the Academics for Peace Initiative.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.