The revolt of June 2013 that saw massive rallies against AKP rule in major urban centers across the country signals a new stage in the fight for freedom of expression in
For the scientific community the protests represent both a moment of crystallization
for ongoing struggles in support of scientific independence and a venue for protesting against government’s repression of free
Since Erdoğan government crushed the independence of
of Sciences (TÜBA) in November
2011 with a regulation that gives the government the power to appoint two thirds
of its members, 120 out of 150 TÜBA members have resigned. In an interview
in Science one of the founding members
and President of the newly-formed Science Academy astrophysicist Mehmet Ali Alpar gives the background of pressures
on research and scientists’ participation in protests at Turkish Academy . Gezi Park
Direct and indirect forms of heavy-handed intervention through funding blocks and censorship have been especially pronounced in the anti-evolution bias of AKP government. Coupled with policies that take away the regulatory and environmental oversight powers of professional associations, most importantly the associations of engineers and architects, these authoritarian policies have provided a powerful impetus for the transformation of protests into a fight for academic freedom, as this article in Science sketches.
A symptom of government’s previous attacks on scientific neutrality as well as a moment of infamy in June protests were police attacks on medical personnel providing emergency assistance for protestors, as an August 7 editorial in BMJ draws attention, a copy of which is available here.