Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Turkey 'Reminds Me of Ceaus¸ Escu's Romania', Says Exiled Scholar

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Turkey 'Reminds Me of Ceaus¸ Escu's Romania', Says Exiled Scholar

Article excerpt

Andrei Stavila tells Jack Grove how a comment on Facebook led to exit from Turkish university

A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics.

Andrei Stavila had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Mugla Sitki Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two years when, after the arrests and suspension of dozens of academics, he posted a comment condemning the state of Turkish academia.

Scholars at 89 universities have been threatened with dismissal and 30 have been arrested after Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured), denounced the "treason of so-called intellectuals" who had demanded an end to what critics see as state violence in clashes with Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey.

Although Dr Stavila, who is from Romania, did not sign the controversial petition, he did leave a post on a UK-based academic's Facebook page that contained an existing post condemning the erosion of academic freedom in Turkey.

In his message, Dr Stavila criticised Turkey's crackdown on academics as going "back to the dark ages", saying that lecturers had faced threats for speaking out on certain issues.

Within two hours of posting the message, he was contacted by his head of department and warned that his contract might not be renewed by Turkey's higher education board, he said.

"I was told to think about my position over the weekend, and, on Monday morning, I told her [the head of department] that I would prefer to go," Dr Stavila told Times Higher Education. …

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