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Several Turkish scientists held leading positions at universities in their home country, but after signing the petition "Academics for Peace" against violence towards Kurds, as one example, they lost their jobs. The "Philipp Schwartz Initiative" allows more than a hundred scholars at risk to come to German institutions to do research. One of them is Bediz Yılmaz-Bayraktar. She has to handle many of the challenges that exiled scientists face, such as being in a foreign culture and research environment, and asking herself if and when there will be a time to go back and work as a scientist in her home country again.


Part 1 - Academic for peace

For Bediz Yılmaz-Bayraktar political activism was deeply connected to her academic life. Then the tensions between the Kurdish minority and the Turkish government got stronger. Her pro-Kurdish commitment resulted in expulsion from her university and leaving her home country.


Part 2 - Insider and outsider

Bediz Yilmaz-Bayraktar spends one and a half years in German exile. Then she makes a radical choice

Hristio Boytchev

The journalist


Hristio Boytchev is a investigative health and science journalist in Berlin, Germany. He writes for The Economist, The Washington Post, Nature, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and Die Welt. He was a reporter for the investigative newsroom Correctiv, where he did an undercover report about alternative therapies for cancer patients. After studying biology at Dresden University of Technology he did postgraduate studies of journalism at Complutense University of Madrid.

Bediz Yılmaz

The scientist


Bediz Yılmaz-Bayraktar graduated from the Department of Political and Administrative Sciences, Marmara University, and received her PhD degree from the French Institute of Urban Studies (University of Paris VIII) with a dissertation on the social exclusion of internally displaced Kurdish people in a slum neighbourhood of Istanbul. After working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Mersin University for more than 10 years, she has been dismissed for having signed the Petition of Academics for Peace (January 2016). Since February 2017 she has been a Philipp Schwartz Fellow at the Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, University of Osnabrück.

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