The authors of the letter describe the situation as follows:
Specifically, we understand that Turkish federal prosecutors have placed approximately 1,128 professors and researchers at 89 Turkish institutions under investigation, apparently for their having co-signed a public statement urging Turkish authorities to renew dialogue efforts with factions in the southeastern area of the country. We understand that some of the signatories have already been investigated for and/or charged with criminal offenses including spreading “terrorist propaganda,” “inciting people to hatred, violence and breaking the law,” and “insulting Turkish institutions and the Turkish Republic,” and that dozens of scholars have been taken into custody, detained and interrogated. We have also received reports that a number of scholars have already been terminated, suspended or forced to resign from their positions within Turkish universities.
The APA’s press release quotes Cheshire Calhoun, chair of the APA’s board of officers, as saying:
It is extremely disturbing that Turkish academics have been subjected to severe governmental and university pressures, including detention and criminal investigations, for doing exactly what one might hope that any academic would do—protest the violation of basic rights protected by one’s country’s constitution and
The APA’s full announcement can be found here.