Observers of academic trends might expect the smearing of an American scholar with unfounded charges and wild conspiracy theories to provoke an impassioned defense from all of academia. But that has not been the case with Henri J. Barkey, a scholar at the Washington, D.C.-based Woodrow Wilson Center who has become a target of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s widespread persecution of “intellectuals.”
Upon regaining control on July 16, Erdogan struck back, initiating what many are calling a purge. First he targeted members of the Turkish military, then the judiciary and then journalists. But his most outlandish attack is the bizarre accusation that the coup was orchestrated by a group of academics attending a conference in Turkey, all fomented by Dr. Barkey.
Through his media loyalists, Erdogan has ordered the rather dull story of an academic conference rewritten into a tale of espionage and revolution. The conference, titled “Iran And Its Neighbors,” was hosted by the Global Political Trends Center (GPoT) of Istanbul Kultur University.
The dangerous nest of conspirators in Erdogan’s unlikely yarn, according to Bir Gun Daily, were “Iran expert at [the] International Crisis Group Ali Vaiz; Egyptian researcher Ahmet Morsy; Middle East expert at Yildirim Beyazit University Bayram Sinkaya and Kultur University lecturer Prof. Dr. Mensur Akgun.” – READ MORE