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Ex-President Gül says purge of academics from universities ‘unsettling’

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Former President Abdullah Gül has said he feels saddened by the removal of academics from their posts at universities through government decrees and finds the move very “unsettling.”

A total of 330 academics were purged from universities by a government decree issued on Tuesday night.

Speaking to reporters following Friday prayers in İstanbul, Gül said: “To be frank, I follow this [purge of academics] with regret. I see many situations that ruin both justice and conscience. The increasing frequency [of purges] in the world of science, at universities in particular, is very unsettling and hurts the conscience. I hope these [mistakes] will be quickly corrected.”

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.

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 Recep Tayyip 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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