University purge hits secularists, boosts conservatives

Turkey’s crackdown after the 15 July putsch has been swift and expansive, sweeping through the military, judiciary and higher education. The government declared a state of emergency and said it has detained more than 40,000 people as it hunts for suspected affiliates of the man officials accuse as the mastermind, Fethullah Gülen, a United States-based Turkish imam who has denied any role, write Joe Parkinson and Emre Peker for The Wall Street Journal.

Overnight, educators became a suspected class. The education ministry dismissed more than 27,000 staff and Turkey’s Council of Higher Education forced all 1,577 university deans to resign, saying only those with no ties to coup plotters would be reinstated. The university watchdog also ordered each university to list faculty suspected of links to Gülen and has suspended 4,225 academics. The 15 Gülen-linked universities have been sealed like crime scenes.

The gathering intellectual purge is arming allies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to realise a goal of their own: to tip the balance of power away from the Western-oriented ivory towers in Istanbul and Ankara towards what ruling-party adherents call academies for “New Turkey” – an amalgamation of Islamic piety and nationalism rooted in the Ottoman past.
Full report on The Wall Street Journal site