The below letter has today been sent by Natalie Fenton to the Turkish Minister of Education from MeCCSA in support of colleagues facing struggles over academic freedom, losing their jobs and in some cases facing imprisonment. Please consider sending your own letters of support.
The letter is also available as a PDF download.
Prof. Nabi Avci,
Minister of National Education,
Atatürk Bulvarı No: 98
Republic of Turkey
5 May 2016
I am writing on behalf of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), which is the national subject association for the fields in its title in UK universities, representing the interests of both academic staff and students.
We have been alarmed recently by news from Turkey relating to both academics in our field and more widely. We are horrified by suggestions that the Turkish authorities are considering measures against signatories to a call for peace within your country, and that such measures include removing them from their university positions or even imprisoning them. Such measures would flout the human right to freedom of expression and they most certainly violate academic freedom.
We call on the Turkish government to act urgently to ensure freedom of expression is protected and sustained, by dropping all charges against those who have signed the petition for peace. As scholars concerned with the study of communications and media, we condemn in the strongest possible terms actions taken against our colleagues in Turkey. Freedom of thought and opinion is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. Such freedom is itself essential for the functioning of science and scholarship. We are sure the authorities in Turkey would not wish to compromise the activities of Turkish scholars or to harm the international reputation of Turkish scholarship and academic life. Your interest in this matter, not least given your own distinguished background in communication science, will, we trust, ensure such freedoms and scholarly independence are properly secured and promoted.
Professor Natalie Fenton