Turkey’s highest education authority asked heads of university faculties across the country to resign, broadening the government purge that’s followed Friday night’s failed coup. The currency plummeted.
Turkey’s Council of Higher Education is seeking the resignation of 1,577 deans at state and private universities nationwide, state-run TRT reported. The channel did not give a reason for the decision, and calls to the educational body, known in Turkish as YOK, were not immediately returned.
The country also canceled the licenses of 21,000 private-school teachers, according to Yeni Safak. That brings the total of those suspended, fired, removed from jobs or stripped of professional accreditation to 59,628 in the wake of the bloody events of Friday night, according to Bloomberg calculations.
The lira subsequently surged past 3 to the dollar to within less than 2 percent of a record, as the government crackdown takes measures reminiscent of the 1980 coup, after which the Council of Higher Education was founded to help increase state control over education.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clashed with academics earlier this year, when more than 1,000 of them signed a petition calling for peace in the southeast and criticizing the government’s handling of the state’s long-running battle with its Kurdish population centered there. Many ended up on trial, while others lost their jobs.
Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said he raised the issue of the crackdown on academics with government officials at a dinner in January this year, arguing that Turkey can’t become a knowledge economy by going after its brightest minds. Pressure on the academy would have “a chilling effect,” he said at the time.