Stiftung Forschungsstelle Schweiz-Türkei
Research Foundation Switzerland-Turkey
İsviçre-Türkiye Araştırmalar Vakfı
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Opening of the symposium "Revolution islamischen Rechts - 80 Jahre Schweizerisches Zivilgesetzbuch in der Türkei" (Revolution of Islamic Law. Eighty years of the Swiss Civil Code in Turkey) in the Senatssaal of the University of Fribourg, 20 October 2006.

Public Statement of Concern - Research Foundation Switzerland Turkey

The Research Foundation Switzerland Turkey is dedicated to the furtherance of knowledge on Turkey. As a research foundation, we are committed to the values of the freedom of speech and the freedom of scholarly inquiry. We therefore follow the current prosecution of academics in Turkey with utmost concern. We are worried by the administrative investigations brought against the signatories to a petition against military operations in the country's Kurdish populated provinces, the Academics for Peace Petition. We are particularly concerned that in addition to administrative proceedings at most of Turkey's universities, criminal investigations have also been brought against signatories in several cities. In around forty cases so far, signatories were arrested and then released. For a thorough synopsis of the developing situation, we would like to draw attention to the Middle East Studies Association's Committee on Academic Freedom.

The current escalation comes on top of several interventions into academic freedom that have led to criminal charges. The case of Dr Reşat Barış Ünlü, an academic at Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Science is particularly notorious: Dr Ünlü had asked two questions about PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in an exam on "Political life and institutions in Turkey". He was charged with 7 year imprisonment for 'propagating terror', and was eventually acquitted.

In joining the world's leading academic associations, we call on the government of the Republic of Turkey to reverse all administrative and legal investigations against the petitioners. We also call on University rectors and deans in Turkey to reverse any proceedings against academics, who made use of their right to express their opinions.

We declare our readiness to assist universities and academic institutions in Switzerland and beyond in attaining information about the situation of prosecuted academics in Turkish academic institutions.

We are hopeful that this violation of the freedom of speech and scholarly inquiry will be but a passing episode. As the Research Foundation Switzerland Turkey, we will continue to work towards supporting free speech and academic freedoms in Turkey.

The Board of the Foundation






Roundtable Discussion


"(Im-)possible Cooperation. To what extend can we universities still cooperate with a "new" Turkey".


Monday, Dec 19th, 4 pm.


University of Basel, Hörsaal 114, Kollegiengebäude