Public Statement in Support of Academic Freedom for Psychologists and Others in Turkey

Yazar / Referans: 
American Psychological Association

APA strongly upholds the principles of free and open discussion and free circulation of scientists and academics.

The American Psychological Association supports psychologists and other academics in Turkey who signed the Academics for Peace petition, and reiterates its commitment to academic freedom, the free and responsible practice of science, and freedom of speech.

We fear these rights are at risk because of what appear to be prosecutions of academic signatories that are motivated by political efforts to stifle free expression, scholarly research and critical inquiry.

The Academics for Peace petition, published in January 2016, opposes a decision by the Turkish president to stop peace talks and begin a military campaign against ethnic Kurds in Turkey. Hundreds of academics, including psychologists, have faced criminal charges associated with being signatories of the petition, including “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” APA welcomes the recent acquittal of Serdar Değirmencioğlu, the president of APA’s Div. 48: The Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. However, many other academics face the very real threat of imprisonment, leading some to seek refuge in other nations. Others do not have this option, as their passports have been canceled or seized, leaving them to face unemployment, underemployment and continued political threats in Turkey.

Based on APA’s resolutions on the free and responsible practice of science, freedom of movement of scientists, and APA international engagement (2016), along with APA’s earlier policy on support for the rights of psychologists in other countries (1980), we strongly uphold the principles of free and open discussion and free circulation of scientists and academics. We believe that psychologists and other scholars have the right to express their viewpoints peacefully, without being subject to sanction. 

We hope that academic freedom and freedom of speech will prevail, and that academics in Turkey will be able to carry out their scholarship and teaching in an environment conducive to constructive dialogue and the advancement of knowledge.