Friday, December 30, 2011

GIT Initiative Denounces the Declarations of Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs

The statements of the Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs, Idris Naim Sahin, diffused in the press on December 26, 2011, illustrates that the Turkish government considers activities that fall under freedom of research and expression as “indirect activities of terrorism that take place in the backyard – and this backyard is Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, Vienna, Germany, London, wherever [they may be], [at] a university chair, an association, a non-governmental organization.”

In this context, the definition of terror promoted by the government currently includes a number of people who have no connection with armed or violent resistance. It threatens the freedom of expression by inventing new classifications of terror such as "scientific terror” or “artistic terror." Scientists, artists, journalists, students, and gradually the whole of civil society, run the risk of falling victim to this “classification” by the government itself.

The International Work Group (GIT): "Academic Liberty and Freedom of Research in Turkey" denounces these statements that aim at the suppression of freedom of expression in Turkey. We find that the Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs, has obviously lost the sense of impartiality necessary for the proper functioning of this governmental position. We demand the end of repression in Turkey regarding researchers, teachers, translators, publishers, students, artists, journalists and also those of various ethnic and sexual identities. We demand the immediate release of our colleagues unjustly accused of "terrorism."*

*GIT Initiative wishes to thank Zeynep Oguz and Ferhat Taylan for translations of the Minister’s declaration on GIT-North America (in English) and (in French).