‘The Era of People Like You Is Over’: How Turkey Purged Its Intellectuals

Suzy Hansen in the NYT Magazine:

An authoritarian state can do many things to get rid of these democratic types — put them in jail, put them on trial — but ultimately the government must attack the institutions that produce and sustain them. Newspapers can be easy to buy. NGOs are easy to shut down. Universities are much harder to dismantle.

But this is what, through the great purge, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his allies sought to do. Thousands of academics lost their jobs, and many lost their right to travel, their passports canceled. They would not be able to work at public or private universities again. Legal proceedings would be opened against them — and drag on to this day, leaving the fired in limbo. Many who were abroad would not return. They feared being quoted in the press or even speaking to journalists. Some were sentenced to prison. At least one committed suicide. Around 90 of the purged academics came from Ankara University, and 36 came from Mulkiye alone, raising suspicions that the 160-year-old faculty of political science had become a particular target.

More here.