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Ramazan Kayikci

On July 26, 2016, Ramazan Kayikci, a Turkish professor of materials engineering, was detained along with 24 other scholars from the University of Sakarya on suspicion of membership in FETÖ (the Fethullah Gulen movement, which is now alleged by the Turkish government to be a terrorist organization responsible for the July 2016 attempted coup). The broad questions that he was asked under interrogation, which included—Which newspapers do you read? Which schools did your children attend?—suggest that he may have been targeted for having exercised internationally protected human rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression. After more than five months in a severely overcrowded prison cell, Professor Kayikci was conditionally released pending trial. (His family reports that he is required to check in weekly at a local police station and is on a curfew during weekends.) To date, however, his file remains sealed, and no indictment has been presented in his case.

While in detention, Professor Kayakci was permanently dismissed from his university position, together with more than two thousand other academics, as the result of a fall 2016 decree issued by the Turkish government. According to the decree, he will never be able to work in a state job in Turkey again. In connection with losing his university position and salary, Professor Kayakci also lost his pension, medical insurance for him and his family, his passport, and his family home, which was located on the university grounds.