Max Planck Society criticizes travel restrictions for Turkish researchers

July 22, 2016

It is with deep dismay that the Max Planck Society had to take notice of the fact that Turkish researchers are to be prevented from continuing to be an active part of the international scientific community.

The request addressed by the Council of Higher Education of Turkey to the members of the teaching staff of their universities, who are currently performing research or teaching activities abroad, to return to their home country, and the ban on traveling abroad mean a great loss for science. Cooperations across national borders are the essential prerequisite for successful scientific work. Freedom of travel for scientists is inextricably linked to it.

Last year, nearly 200 guest researchers and junior scientists from Turkey conducted research work at the Institutes of the Max Planck Society alone. Our Institutes are cooperating with Turkish institutions within the framework of 18 research projects. In addition, the MPG is supporting junior scientists at universities in Ankara and Istanbul through Partner Groups.

The Max Planck Society will support the Turkish scientists at its Institutes also in this difficult situation. The request to return to Turkey at short notice would in fact represent a serious interruption and, as the case may be, an abrupt end of their scientific work.

Particularly young scientists need access to international networks; they come to renowned institutions in order to learn and to expand their scientific profile. This exchange is beneficial to both the institutions and the Max Planck Society but also, and mainly, to the universities of the scientists’ home countries.

The majority of these scientists return there after having successfully completed their research projects. Thus, the decree issued by the Turkish Council of Higher Education, which prevents this access to the free exchange of knowledge and experience, does not only damage the international scientific community, but above all science in Turkey, which has developed very well over the past years.

This positive development is not only being jeopardized by the restriction of the freedom to travel. In this context, the Max Planck Society appeals to Turkey to carry out the ongoing investigations of the universities, the public administration and the judiciary for a possible participation in the attempted coup with a sense of proportion and with fair procedures founded on the rule of law.

Go to Editor View