YÖK says lists of to-be-purged academics determined by universities

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Demonstrators hold a banner, reading "Let the emergency decrees go. We are remaining!", 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 on September 22, 2016.

Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) has said the names of academics who are purged from universities through controversial government decrees are determined by the university administrations themselves, according to BBC Turkish.

In the wake of growing criticism of YÖK due to the expulsion of thousands of academics from universities, YÖK’s press advisor, Şener Aslan, said: “It is the universities that have the final say over their expulsions. The names are determined by universities, and YÖK does not conduct any investigation in this regard.”

It is estimated that more than 20,000 academics have been purged from universities since a failed coup attempt on July 15. They were either expelled from universities, or the universities they used to work for were closed down due to their ties to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The latest government decree, issued on Tuesday, purged 330 more academics from universities.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement denies the accusations.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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