SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

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Date of Incident: July 15, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):University of California Davis

On January 30, 2019, Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Baki Tezcan, a professor at the University of California Davis, for his endorsement of a petition criticizing state and military actions in predominantly Kurdish areas of southeast Turkey.

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: July 11, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Middle East Technical University

On July 11, 2019, the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court convicted and sentenced Sibel Bekiroğlu, a research assistant at the Middle East Technical University, to fifteen months imprisonment on a charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” The charge is in apparent retaliation for the Bekiroğlu’s endorsement of a petition criticizing state and military actions in predominantly Kurdish areas of southeast Turkey.

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: July 01, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Işık University | İstanbul Kültür University | İstanbul Okan University

On July 1, 2019, the İstanbul 32nd Heavy Penal Court sentenced a research assistant from İstanbul Kültür University, and two lecturers from İstanbul Okan University and Işık University to fifteen months imprisonment on a charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: June 30, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Middle East Technical University

On June 30, 2019, authorities arrested four students from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, apparently to prevent them from engaging in non-violent expressive activity at the university’s graduation ceremony. Authorities released the students later that night.

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: June 13, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Boğaziçi University | Istanbul Bilgi University

On June 13, 2019, the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court convicted and sentenced a Boğaziçi University PhD candidate and an İstanbul Bilgi University research assistant to 15 months imprisonment and a Boğaziçi University scholar to two years and six months ...

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: June 12, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Istanbul Bilgi University

On June 12, 2019, the Istanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court convicted and sentenced Sezai Ozan Zeybek, a lecturer at Istanbul Bilgi University, to one year and three months imprisonment for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: May 30, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Marmara University

On May 30, 2019, the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court sentenced Filiz Arıöz, a lecturer at Marmara University, to one year and three months imprisonment for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” This charge is in apparent retaliation for the scholar’s endorsement of petition criticizing state and military actions in predominantly Kurdish areas of southeast Turkey.

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: May 30, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Ankara University

On May 30, 2019, the Istanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court sentenced Tezcan Durna, an associate professor at Ankara University, to one year and three months imprisonment on a charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: May 21, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):Sabanci University

On May 21, 2019, the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court sentenced Sabancı University professor Ayşe Gül Altınay to two years and one month imprisonment on a charge of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization as a non-member.” The charge ...

Attack Types: Prosecution

Date of Incident: May 11, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

Institution(s):University of Lyon-1

On May 11, 2019, Turkish authorities arrested University of Lyon-1 mathematics professor Ahmet Tuna Altınel for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” The charge is apparently based on Altınel’s alleged participation at a documentary screening in France. Altınel, a professor at the ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Travel Restrictions