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European Council, TÜSİAD criticize latest detention of academics in Turkey

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland.

Secretary General of European Council Thorbjorn Jagland and president of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) Erol Bilecik have criticized the detention of 13 academics in Turkey on Friday for their involvement in the Gezi Park protests against the government in 2013.

According to Euronews Jagland tweeted that he would bring this alarming development to the attention of the Turkish government while expressing concern for the academics.

Bilecik posted a tweet following the detentions to highlight his sadness over the issue. TÜSİAD’s president stated that at a time when Turkey is trying to entice academics to return home from abroad it is concerning to start the day with a story of the detention of academics.

The detainees are accused of fomenting chaos to destroy the Republic of Turkey by attempting to expand the Gezi Park protests throughout the country, according to a police statement distributed to the press.

The Gezi Park protests took place in the summer of 2013 in reaction to the government’s attempt to destroy one of the few green spaces left in Istanbul and turned into a major protest against the policies of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The police targeted academics at the Anadolu Kültür Foundation, which is linked to Kavala, and the Open Society Foundation for creating chaos through the Gezi Park protests.

Detained on Friday morning were Ali Hakan Altınay (president of Açık Toplum Foundation), Asena Günal (Anadolu Kültür program coordinator ), Meltem Aslan Çelikkan (Anadolu Kültür general coordinator), Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı (dean of the faculty of law at İstanbul Bilgi University), Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi (Anadolu Kültür acting CEO), Bora Sarı (Anadolu Kültür), Ayşegül Güzel (Anadolu Kültür), Çiğdem Mater (advisor at Anadolu Kültür), Prof. Dr. Betül Tanbay (academic at Boğaziçi University), Hande Özhabeş (communications coordinator at the Association for the Development of Civil Society), Filiz Telek (Anadolu Kültür) and Yiğit Aksakoğlu (Civil Society Education Department of İstanbul Bilgi University).

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