Academic restrictions in Turkey «a crime against students», says Latvian student body

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The Latvian Students Union (LSA) thinks that the limitations on academic freedom in Turkey following the failed coup attempt amount to "a crime against students of Turkey". Furthermore, the crackdown makes it evident that higher education is being politicized in that country, the union told the press Thursday.

The union, which is Latvia's main student body, says that while the reasons for firing more than 15,000 academic staff and demanding many university deans to resign are "highly unclear", the move serves as evidence that higher education in Turkey is being politicized and used as a tool to influence the more educated parts of the society.

"Restrictions to the work of universities and interrupting it because of political reasons is impermissible, especially in a country that is a part of united European Higher Education Area," the union says.

"LSA stands for autonomy of higher education, asking government of Turkey encourage the progress of higher education, not limiting it, and making a clear line between education field and political situation in the country," the statement reads on.

LSA joined the European Students Union in condemning Turkey's purge of the academic community and expressed support to the students of Turkey, who the union says are now being repressed by the changes in the higher education system.

Media report that following the failed coup attempt the Turkish government has fired more than 15,000 education ministry employees and asked more than 1,500 university deans to resign in a purge of government officials that has seen more than 50,000 people swiftly removed from official posts.

In addition, Turkey's higher education council has banned academics from work trips abroad and urges those overseas to quickly return home.

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