Reading John Stuart Mill in Turkey in 2017

In: Middle East Law and Governance
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  • 1 Sabancı University, Turkey Harvard University, USA

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Academic freedom has eroded and continues to erode in an unprecedented magnitude in Turkey especially since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. During this time, thousands of academics were purged from their positions including Academics for Peace who signed a petition calling for an end to the atrocities against Kurdish citizens and a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the southeastern provinces of Turkey. Such authoritarian backsliding was accompanied by a discourse that blurred the distinction between opinion and truth. Academics were increasingly ostracized and viewed as non-members of what came to be referred as New Turkey. A discourse of rejection replaced criticism and an unprecedented dissonance emerged between the current academic debate on free speech as well as academic freedom and the tragic reality faced by academics in Turkey making it impossible for them to continue their vocational existence.

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