A number of events which have taken place in Turkey point to serious interferences with the academic freedoms much needed by scientists. In order to draw public attention to this matter, The Science Academy has issued its Report on Academic Freedoms 2015, excerpts from which can be found below:
“A founding principle of The Science Academy is freedom in the field of science. Scientific freedom is guaranteed by Article 27 and scientific autonomy by Article 130 of the Turkish Constitution. However, a number of events which have occurred in Turkey have attested to the presence of serious interference with this freedom which is a basic need of all academics.
“As indicated in numerous European Council recommendations in this field, the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy are indispensable values for universities and the protection of these values is to the benefit of the society and humanity in general. In this regard, the academic freedoms of research and education help safeguard the freedoms of expression, disseminating information, conducting studies and sharing facts without limitation. Historically, the violation of academic freedoms and university autonomy has unmistakably resulted in intellectual regression, which in turn has led to social and economic stagnation.
“University autonomy comprises the following components:
-autonomy of employment and
However, according to the result of a 2011 study by the European University Association accessible over the Internet, among 29 European countries, Turkey ranks 28th in terms of organizational autonomy, 23rd in financial autonomy, 21st in autonomy of employment, and 25th in academic autonomy.”
“These cases clearly suggest that scientific freedom in Turkey does not live up to universal standards. As suggested above, it is a very basic right for scientists to be able to express their opinions freely, even if these opinions are provocative, disturbing or in minority. Interference with these rights and freedoms will sooner or later end in intellectual regression as well as social and economic stagnation, as indicated by the European Council. The Science Academy is ready to provide its full support to legal efforts for reversing this worrying trend and establishing scientific freedom at universal standards at our universities.”