A senior Turkish government official dismissed concerns that Mr. Erdogan’s vision conflicted with Turkey’s interests, saying: “Turkey has excellent schools and departments. Obviously we would like to have the best departments on all subjects.” The Higher Education Council didn’t respond to requests for comment. Ruling-party leaders have said the post-putsch crackdown has support across Turkish society.
Academics affected by the purge include some of the more than 1,000 who signed an open letter in January calling for peace talks between the government and Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a designated terrorist group that wants autonomy in majority-Kurdish southeast Turkey.
Also interesting (emphasis mine)
Secularist elites controlled professorial appointments and vetoed research in areas considered detrimental to the government’s pro-Western orientation. Head scarves were banned from campuses, a rule that kept generations of women out of higher education.
When Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, swept to power in 2002, ending that ban was among its priorities. Animosity from the secular elite meant it took almost eight years to repeal.