Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social

Actualizado 2:50 PM, 9 Jun 2017
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Solidarity for Turkish academics - final statement/letter for public release

We, the People's Health Movement, stand in solidarity with our friends and colleagues in Turkey who are suffering from not only threats, but also prosecution after standing for the just cause of peace. As a global movement for the right to health active in more than 70 countries around the world, we are particularly concerned with the unjust treatment that our colleagues are facing, including severe restriction of their right to speech and of free movement, and more broadly for the silencing of critical voices that are so relevant in defending and promoting right to health of the population.

Cape Town, September 9th 2016
To:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
President of Turkey
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Binali Yıldırım
Prime Minister of Turkey
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İsmail Kahraman
President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly
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Bekir Bozdağ
Justice Minister of the Republic of Turkey
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İsmet Yılmaz
Minister of National Education
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Yekta Saraç
President of the Council of Higher Education
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Serdar Kılıç
Turkish Ambassador to the United States
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We, the People's Health Movement, stand in solidarity with our friends and colleagues in Turkey who are suffering from not only threats, but also prosecution after standing for the just cause of peace. As a global movement for the right to health active in more than 70 countries around the world, we are particularly concerned with the unjust treatment that our colleagues are facing, including severe restriction of their right to speech and of free movement, and more broadly for the silencing of critical voices that are so relevant in defending and promoting right to health of the population.

We have learned that, in the latest mass purge that occurred the night of September 1st, members of “Academics for Peace” and Education and of the Science Workers Union (Eğitim-SEN) have been permanently removed from their positions in public higher education institutions. More than 41 signatories of the peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime” were deemed “supporters of terrorism” and banned from public service, alongside with more than 40,000 public service employees. Dismissed under the conditions of the state of emergency, they will neither be able to appeal the decision nor to work in the public sector for a lifetime; their passports will also be revoked.

This is the last episode of a prolonged state of repression that has brought hundreds of peace petition signatories to face criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment and violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or suspended, some were forced to resign or leave the country.
The repression has worsened after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, with the pretext of purging individuals connected with the coup from public service. However, many of the signatories have already been under administrative investigations for months, without a conclusion. The government of Turkey is taking advantage of the state of emergency rule to silence all critical voices, including those who have no relation to the coup attempt. This is a serious violation of the inalienable human right to fair trial and due process, and reflects the further deterioration and dissolution of freedom of expression, academic freedom and autonomy in Turkey.

In the different countries where the People's Health Movement is present, we are active in universities, NGOs, public health authorities and communities to defend and promote the right to health of the population. Social justice and peace are key elements of our advocacy. We want our colleagues in Turkey to be able to do the same, protected by international laws regarding freedom of speech and expression. We urgently demand that they are reinstated to their positions and have their employee rights fully restored.

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