39% of Peace Academics still do not have full-time jobs, report shows

Some five years after they were dismissed from their posts with state decrees, 39 percent of members of the Academics for Peace still do not have full-time jobs, while 14.2 percent earn below the minimum wage, according to a report released by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).

A group of Peace Academics are seen holding a banner that reads 'We stand behind our demand' in this file photo.

Duvar English 

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) on Nov. 19 released a report on members of the Academics for Peace, a group who have been dismissed from their university jobs through statutory decrees after signing a 2016 petition named “We will not be a party to this crime!”

The report showed that the dismissed academics' rights have been violated in several issues, from a fair income to professional realization.

Basing its results on interviews, the report said that 61 percent of the academics have full-time jobs, whereas 30 percent of others are paid on a piece-rate basis and 9 percent others work at part-time jobs.

Some 36.8 percent of the interviewed academics are not covered by social security insurance, which is why they need to meet their own health expenses.

Some 6.6 percent of the academics said they do not have any income, whereas 14.2 percent said they earn less than the minimum wage.

Another 6.6 percent said they earn at a level between 2,826 – 3,499 liras; 8.5 percent between 4,500 – 5,499 liras; 10.4 percent between 3,500 – 4,499 liras; 12.3 percent between 5,500 – 6,499 liras; and 41.5 percent above 6,500 liras.

Although years have passed since their dismissal, almost half of them still need financial support to make the ends meet, they said.

Some 60 percent said they have lost their motivation to conduct academic works; whereas 25 percent said they can no longer access library or databases crucial for their studies.

Over 1,000 academics signed a petition called “We will not be a party to this crime” in early 2016 to urge the government to cease its military operations in the country’s Kurdish majority southeast, where days-long curfews and military conflict were devastating locals.

Often called the "Academics for Peace," the petition's signatories were later tried on terrorism charges and were fired from their posts by government decrees adopted within the framework of the state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

The State of Emergency Commission was formed in May 2017 to look into applications regarding the dismissals via emergency decrees. 

In July 2019, Turkey's Constitutional Court found that the conviction of Peace Academics violated their freedom of expression, calling for a re-trial of their cases.

Despite the top court's ruling, the State of Emergency Commission has in recent rulings rejected several of the academics' applications to be reinstated back to their jobs.