Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose government has removed thousands of academics from their jobs, has said his government plans to make Turkey a center of attraction for scientists, Deutsche Welle reported.
Speaking at a ceremony in Ankara on Thursday on the occasion of the declaration of 2019 as “The Year of Professor Fuat Sezgin,” a Turkish scientist who died last year, Erdoğan said his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is laying the groundwork in Turkey on which scientists can make good use of their experience and skills.
“We will soon make Turkey a much more important center of attraction for scientists,” he said.
Erdoğan said the removal of Sezgin, well known for his work in Islamic history and the history of science and technology, from İstanbul University in the aftermath of a military coup in Turkey in 1960 was one of the biggest shames in Turkish history. Sezgin later continued his studies in Germany.
Erdoğan’s own government expelled close to 7,000 academics from their posts in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, while thousands of others were forced to flee the country due to a lack of academic independence, among other reasons.
“When you don’t stand up for your scientists, then Germany stands behind them, and the work of that scientist finds its way into the world in German,” Erdoğan said.
The expelled academics were among some 150,000 civil servants who were removed from their jobs in the wake of the coup attempt on terrorism or coup charges.