Commentaries #22

Anti-intellectualism and discrediting of critical academics in Turkey: an approach to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict
by Serhat Tutkal, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Executive summary: 

This essay focuses on the anti-intellectualism in Turkey in relation to the oppression, persecution, and discrediting of critical academics. It shows how this anti-intellectualism affects the reproduction and re-legitimation of war policies in regards to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. To this end, first it presents excerpts from in-depth interviews with academics who were dismissed from universities by presidential decrees for signing a peace petition criticizing the military operations and human rights violations in Kurdish-majority cities. Subsequently, it shows some Twitter entries from a larger dataset where critical academics are attacked to legitimize police violence in a university campus. It concludes with underlining the importance of re-legitimation of critical academics and intellectual work in Turkey if authoritarianism is to be overcome.

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