YÖK says Boğaziçi academic fired for signing peace declaration

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Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) has announced that Noémi Levy-Aksu, an assistant professor of history at Turkey’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, who was dismissed from her position in February, was fired because she signed a peace declaration.

YÖK’s announcement came in response to a question asked by Levy-Aksu to the board concerning the cancellation of her work permit.

Published in early 2016, the peace declaration accuses the Turkish government of carrying out heavy-handed operations in Turkey’s southeastern region, where outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the military have been engaged in clashes since the breakdown of a cease-fire between the two in July 2015.

It was signed by more than 1,000 intellectuals from both inside and outside Turkey, including US philosopher Noam Chomsky.

The peace declaration frustrated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading to retribution against the academics. Some of the insults Erdoğan used against them included “so-called intellectuals,” “a flock called intellectuals,” “traitors” and “rough copies of intellectuals.”

Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained when police raided their homes and offices across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan. 11, 2016, while hundreds of them were removed from their jobs.

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