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The flag of Turkey.

The flag of Turkey.

alexeyklyukin/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Turkish government tightens grip on universities

This is an update to our ongoing coverage of the political purge of academia underway in Turkey in the wake of a failed coup attempt in July.

In a surprise decree issued this past weekend, Turkey's government announced the firing of more than 1000 academics at public universities. Many of those fired are learning of their fate by finding themselves on a long list of names that the government released

The government also announced that it will now directly appoint the leaders of Turkey's universities. Insiders say that the government has long held de facto control over the election of university rectors, but that the new decree simply makes the government's control of academic leadership official.

Turkey's Science Academy issued a statement in Turkish this week. "Allowing a central authority ... to decide on how every institution—especially universities where specialization is at the highest level—should conduct its affairs means to entrust the entire country to the supposed infallibility of a single individual in a world where economy and technology advance at an immense pace," it reads. "This goes against democracy and rationality."