ESA RN18 statement about the political situation academics face in Turkey
As scholars concerned with the study of communications and media, and speaking for the research network in this field, which connects the work of social scientists across Europe, we condemn in the strongest possible terms recent steps taken against a group of colleagues in Turkey who have been calling for peace in the country.
We are horrified by suggestions that the Turkish authorities are considering measures against signatories to that call that include removing them from their university positions or even imprisoning them. Such measures would violate the human right to freedom of expression and they most certainly violate academic freedom.
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 also 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.
Article 19 of the European Convention of Human Rights guarantees freedom of thought and opinion: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”.
This European and universal human right means that limiting the freedom
of expression of Turkish academics, who have signed the petition in question, may by violating basic human rights fortify Turkey’s chance of being able to ever become a member of the European Union.
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.
The Board of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research (ESA RN 18)
April 5, 2016