Friday, December 30, 2011

An Intervention Letter in Support of the Turkish Academy of Sciences


September 6, 2011

His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
06573 Ankara
Republic of Turkey


Our Network is composed of national academies and scholarly societies around
the world, many of which have worked with the Turkish Academy of Sciences
(TÜBA) and its respected members over the years. We have seen how TÜBA,
acting with financial and administrative autonomy, responsibly has promoted
scientific activities in Turkey, determined scientificpriorities, and proposed
science policies and constructivechanges in science legislation to the Turkish
government in a sincere effort to elevate Turkey to the level of a true "scientific

Because one of the charges of our Network is to support sister academies whose
independence is threatened, we write, with all due respect, to tell you we are
deeply distressed to learnof the recent government decree that appearsto
restructure TÜBA and effectivelyremove its independence. (Because we are
certain that other science organizations will share our qualms, we are posting this
letter on our website.) In writing, it is our sincere hope that you will understand
our concern and use your.goodoffices to quickly reverse this legislation and
support andstrengthen TÜBA. A healthy and independent science academy can
do much to help Turkey produce good science and profit from its benefits.
As international scientists and scholars, we can assure you that autonomy-within
legal, ethical, and scientific norms-is essential to the practice and culture of
science (within academiesas well as universities), to the public welfare, and to social stability. Any legitimate, respected national academy is self governing. It elects its own members based on their scientific achievement andderives its prestige from their renown; it allocates its financial resources according to need; it provides objective, unbiased scientificopinions; and it remains independent of religious and political belief and influence.

We strongly believe that Turkey needs and deserves the respect and recognition of the international scientific community that an independent TÜBA would continue to attract.

Sincerely yours,

Arjuna Aluwihare, Sri Lanka
Dorairajan Balasubramanian, India
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, France
Abdallah S. Daar, Oman/Canada
Felton Earls, United States of America
François Jacob,France
Belita Koiller, Brazil
Pedro León Azofeifa, Costa Rica
Ida Nicolaisen, Denmark
John Polanyi, Canada
Alenka Selih, Slovenia

cc: Dr. Yücel Kanpolat, President, Turkish Academy of Sciences
Dr. Howard Alper, Co-Chair, Executive Committee, The Global Networkof Science Academies
Dr. Mohamed H.A. Hassan, Co-Chair, Executive Committee, TheGlobal Network of Science Academies (IAP)
Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO
Dr. Catherine Bréchignac, President, International Council for Science (ICSU)
Dr. Yuan T. Lee, President-Elect, International Council for Science (ICSU)

This letter and numerous others can be reached at: