Turkish professor Serdar Degirmencioglu is one of 1,128 intellectuals who signed a petition calling on the Turkish government to stop military operations against the Kurds in the country's southeast - an act for which he was reported to police and fired from his job.
"It's difficult to say whether we'll be able to go back to teaching freely in Turkey," said Degirmencioglu, who is currently touring Europe to tell his story and explain the current situation in Turkey.
"I'm hopeful, because I know that the current regime has no future, but it will leave ruins behind, and it will take years to rebuild Turkish institutions." Degirmencioglu spoke during a tour stop in Benevento for the seminar "Turkey and Europe between rights and freedom", sponsored by the Campania Order of Psychologists.
He recalled the government campaign against those who signed the petition.
"The witch-hunt happened over the course of two days. We were in shock, because we were only telling the truth and asking, as citizens, the obvious - that is, peace in Turkey," he said.
"We didn't expect this witch-hunt".
Degirmencioglu said life inside Turkish universities has become "a joke - rather, a nightmare".
"Now, students see that the thirst for knowledge, science, truth, teaching, aren't important," he said.
"What counts is power. Religion, dogma, and the conservative attitude are ok, critical thought isn't. Immediately after the declaration of the state of emergency, 15 universities were closed and students of those universities became 'academic orphans'. The message is clear: if you have power, you can destroy academic careers and universities themselves in an instant".
He said the difficult climate in the country is sustained by fear over attacks by ISIS.
"There's a climate of insanity in Turkey," he said.
"The government is crazy. The media, controlled by the government, spread lies. Every event is described as subversive or as a plot against the government. The majority of people are scared after attacks by ISIS because the attacks seem impossible to avoid and when fear dominates, the people do what a dictator tells them. Furthermore, I don't believe that attacks by ISIS will stop the Islamisation of politics in Turkey".
Degirmencioglu said Europe is incapable of reacting to the situation.
"Europe is governed by small politicians who are servants to the capitalists and hide the true priorities," he said.
"Human rights aren't a priority at the moment. Therefore, in the relationship with Turkey the priorities are business and security. When they approach refugees, the priorities aren't human rights, but crisis management".