Open Letter to March for Science from Turkey — Dr. Işık Barış Fidaner

This text was written to meet a demand by March for Science Germany.


(Turkish version)

Dear fellow scientists,
As you may remember, Gezi Park Resistance in İstanbul Taksim Square in June 2013 was a historic event of universal significance. In the general elections of June 2015, this awakening was reflected in the 13% vote that Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP received.

In July and October 2015, Turkey witnessed awful terrorist attacks in Suruç and Ankara that targeted the central subjects of this awakening. The war escalated and a nationalist authoritarian turn followed, reducing HDP votes to 10% in the repeated elections of November 2015.

One of the democratic reactions to this nationalist backlash was “Academics for Peace” which was an immense peace campaign triggered by thousands of academics who refuse to be a part of this crime that is the official nationalist war of Turks against Kurds.

However, a failed coup attempt in July 2016 resulted in a much worse authoritarian turn that led Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to declare a “state of emergency” and a “national mobilization” as his excuses to sign executive orders to dismiss hundreds of academics in public universities to the point of shutting down entire departments and universities.

In this period “Academics for Peace” lost their jobs being accused for the coup attempt in July 2016. The absurdity of nationalist authoritarianism becomes so extremely great that it’s not funny any longer.

A few days ago, Turkey did a referendum that voted the transition to a system that gives absolute authority to the elected president, a bit like the American system that brought the catastrophe that is Donald Trump.

Unfortunately Turkey couldn’t learn from the recent American experience and the referendum yielded a positive result, although the local results are negative in several prominent cities of Turkey.

It must be said that this is not a reliable result for anyone. The “YES” side, which includes the state agencies that organize the referendum, always acted illegally from the beginning to the end.

March for Science is an international initiative through which we can share and learn from each others’ experiences.

Great historic errors bring irresponsible authorities that commit illegitimate actions via illegal means.

Who can correct these errors other than internationally organized scientists?


Most sincere greetings from Turkey,

Dr. Işık Barış Fidaner

Computer scientist, PhD


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