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Turkey’s emergency rule fuels brain drain

Turkey is losing precious human capital, as many educated Turks are migrating to the West, scared off by ferocious crackdowns since the July coup attempt.
Demonstrators hold signs in front of the High Education Board (YOK) during a protest against the suspension of academics from universities following a post-coup emergency decree, in Ankara, Turkey, September 22, 2016. The sign in the foreground reads "Let the emergency decrees go. We are remaining." REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTSOY0Z
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The aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt has sparked a migration flurry among educated Turks amid crackdowns on media freedoms and free speech, arbitrary restrictions on property and work rights, and growing talk of a looming economic crisis and even a civil war. Many of those leaving the country are academics, expelled overnight from universities via legislative decrees, journalists out of work and under the threat of imprisonment, and members of non-Muslim minorities who feel increasingly insecure.

Since the state of emergency was declared soon after the botched coup, 3,500 academics, one-fifth of them professors, have been expelled from universities across the country through two legislative decrees issued by the government. They include scores of scholars who had signed a peace declaration in January, urging Ankara to stop the military crackdown in the mainly Kurdish southeast and seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The signatories had already faced probes for spreading “terrorist propaganda,” and some were quick to seek safety abroad before things got even worse after the coup attempt.

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