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The collapse of Turkish academia

The Turkish government’s clampdown on the academic community has reached the country’s top faculties and scholars.
Riot policemen walk over gowns which were laid down by academics during a protest against the dismissal of academics from universities following a post-coup emergency decree, in the Cebeci campus of Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX30F6V
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Turkey’s academic community has been a major target of the massive purges in the wake of the botched coup attempt last year, with more than 4,000 academics expelled from universities across the country so far.

The government had claimed that the purges — conducted at a stroke via legislative decrees — would target supporters of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, the accused mastermind of the putsch. After coming to power in 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had opened dozens of new universities, and a large number of Gulenists had been appointed to their faculties as the alliance between the AKP and Gulen flourished. Indeed, the initial legislative decrees were largely aimed at scholars known as Gulenists.

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