Jailed Turkish academic İştar Gözaydın released

Sociologist is reportedly still blocked from leaving the country

April 7, 2017

A prominent Turkish social scientist has been released from jail after being held following last year's failed coup attempt, according to reports.

İştar Gözaydın, former head of the sociology department at Gediz University, was arrested at the end of last year as part of an investigation into the coup, according to the Stockholm Center for Freedom, a monitoring centre in Sweden set up by journalists who have been forced to leave Turkey.

However, Professor Gözaydın remains barred from international travel, it reported.

Tens of thousands of academics, civil servants and journalists have been suspended or sacked for their alleged links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara blames for orchestrating the coup.

Prosecutors had previously sought a jail sentence of up to ten years for Professor Gözaydın, formerly a researcher at Birkbeck, University of London, alleging links with the Gülen movement, according to the centre.

At the beginning of March, hundreds of academics signed a petition calling for her release.

A report by the campaigning organisation Scholars at Risk found that there had been a "significant increase" in pressure on academic freedom in Turkey during 2016, which had escalated since the coup attempt in July last year.

Scholars were banned from leaving the country for work; nearly 1,600 deans were forced to temporarily resign; 15 private universities were closed down; and more than 2,000 academics were dismissed for alleged links to the coup, it reported.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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