Erdogan tries to play both sides of the street when it comes to Palestinians, Syrians, & the Rohingya but that is only performance politics to distract from the extreme & violent repression he imposes on Turks. When it comes to solidarity, he isn’t much more than hot air. Domestic policy is of a piece with foreign policy. This piece from Israeli Apartheid’s Facebook wall makes that eminently clear.

Solidarity with persecuted academics in Turkey and in Palestine!
נשות ואנשי אקדמיה מישראל תומכים בעמיתיהם מטורקיה הנרדפים על ידי המשטר בשל הביקורת שהשמיעו על ההרג, הגירוש והדיכוי של המיעוטים בארצם. אנשי “אקדמיה לשוויון” לא מסתפקים בדיון על העוולות המתחוללים שם, ומוחים לנוכח מגמות דומות המתרחשות בישראל
Solidarity with persecuted academics in Turkey and in Palestine

By Yaara Benger Alaluf, Academy for Equality – Members’ organization for the democratization of academia and society in Israel –

(summary of Hebrew article, link to original – below)

Hundreds of academics are on trial now for signing a peace petition denouncing the killing of civilians in the summer of 2015. 1200 Turkish academics have demanded an end to starvation, expulsion and massacre of Kurdish citizens and the renewal of the peace process for a just solution to the conflict. The signatories are under an attack which includes arrest, loss of their jibs, seizing of their passports and now a legal procedure.

The academics are not alone. After the failed coup attempt in the summer of 2016, the Turkish government has used a series of emergency regulations which make it possible to escalate its struggle against all its political opponents. More than 140,000 civil servants have been fired and are not eligible for unemployment pay or health coverage. One should note the hunger strike and trial of a Turkish university lecturer and a Turkish teacher – Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca. What is happening in Turkey is just an extreme example in a global process of silencing academia by governments. In Israel too, we have seen more and more cancellations of conferences and lectures due to political pressures and threats of firing. The Israeli authorities are violating Palestinian academic freedom, by detention and movement restrictions imposed on students and faculty, the denial of the right to travel abroad, military incursions into campuses, confiscation of equipment and more.

Turkey and Israel have a lot in common, as states founded under the ethos of Western, progressive, secular values, while choosing to ensure the superiority of the “founders” and trampling on other groups, labelled “primitive” or “fifth column”. The elites fear anyone who may bring up demons of discrimination, expulsion and killing of cultural, ethnic and religious minorities. In Israel these include the Nakba, the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, the kidnapping of Yemenite Jewish babies from their families and the marginalization of Jewish immigrants from Muslim countries. In Turkey these include the Armenian genocide, the massacre of Kurds and Alawites, the murder and expulsion of the Greek population of Istanbul and now the renewed war on the Kurds in South East Turkey.

At a time when minorities, women and non-white people make themselves heard, create new alliances and challenge the status quo and its history, the elites certainly have something to fear. And academia is a main agent in exposing processes of oppression and structural discrimination by state institutions. It is not enough to demand academic freedom and use it for submission to the silencing interests of the powerful elites. Members of Israeli academia tend to turn a blind eye to violations of Palestinian academic colleagues and the direct involvement of Israeli universities in numerous mechanisms of exploitation and oppression:

And from an economic perspective, one should stress that the neoliberal policy implemented at universities has harmed workers, discriminated against students from a law social-economic status and submitted research institutions to public relations and profit considerations. While a publication of a critical article in a prestigious journal with limited access by a few thousand academics may boost the university’s ranking, criticism in the public sphere is perceived as something which may deter potential donors and students. It comes as no surprise that Haifa University has pushed out Dr. Dotan Leshem, who excels at circulating the findings of his research (of Israeli society and economics) onto the public at large.

Furthermore, when academic freedom is violated – in Haifa Tulkarem or Istanbul – we cannot settle for support of academics of condemnation of the silencing attempts. Alongside support for the signatories of the Turkish academics’ petition, we must make sure their silenced voice is heard: Their just criticism of the ongoing killing, the expulsion and the oppression of minorities in Turkey and the right to call for the exposure of wrongdoings and an end to the conflict. In addition, we must not settle for a discussion of events in Turkey while being silent as to similar trends in Israel.

Against the efforts to turn the higher education system into a tool in the hands of the security industries or an institute for the training of civil servants, we are committed to take a resolute stand against violence and the violation of human rights, action to disconnect academia from economic interests and to ensure independent research, plurality of opinions and free critique, which are vital for ensuring a vital thinking society. Without criticism, opposition and constant challenging of that which is taken for granted (also in academic institutions and practices, the call for academic freedom will remain devoid of content.

Hebrew source, Haoketz Magazine המקור