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Released academic says detention has become common practice in Turkey

Cenk Yiğiter, an academic who had been fired from his job by the Turkish government, was released on Monday following his detention on Friday at his home in Ankara on suspicion of terrorism.

The Turkish Internet media reported that the purged academic said his detention was completely arbitrary; however, Yiğiter said such detentions have become normal in Turkey. Stating that at this point in time only critics are subject to this unfair treatment, Yiğiter said everyone should be afraid under the existing rule in the country.

Yiğiter said he did not know what he was accused of during his detention and that even his lawyer was not informed since the prosecutor imposed restrictions on access to his case, a prosecutorial authority introduced after a coup attempt in July 2016.

He urged people to keep alive their hope of defeating the darkness in the country.

Yiğiter was among 1,128 signatories of the Academics for Peace petition published in several media outlets on Jan. 11, 2016, calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern part of the country, which caused dozens of civilian deaths and the destruction of vast residential areas.

He was previously convicted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and given a suspended sentence.

During a now-ended two-year-long state of emergency declared immediately after the failed coup, he was dismissed from his position at Ankara University Law School by a government decree.

He later passed the university entrance exam and tried to enroll in his faculty as a student; however, the university management prevented him from registering by changing the regulations.

“I am an expelled law expert. I am banned from publishing articles in magazines and attending scientific meetings. I am forbidden to work in the public sector. I am forbidden to work at a private university. I am forbidden to have a license to practice law. I am forbidden to enroll at Ankara University as a student. I am forbidden to hold a passport and go abroad,” he tweeted on Nov. 2, highlighting the government pressure imposed on dismissed public servants.

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