Persecution of Academics in Turkey (updated)

Academics in Turkey are facing official accusations of ““terrorist propaganda,” “inciting people to hatred, violence and breaking the law,” and “insulting Turkish institutions and the Turkish Republic” for signing a petition calling for peace and objecting to their government’s treatment of citizens in the country’s Kurdish provinces. In part, the petition reads:

The Turkish state has effectively condemned its citizens in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, and many other towns and neighborhoods in the Kurdish provinces to hunger through its use of curfews that have been ongoing for weeks. It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons and equipment that would only be mobilized in wartime. As a result, the right to life, liberty, and security, and in particular the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment protected by the constitution and international conventions have been violated. 

This deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law. 

We demand the state to abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region. We also demand the state to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage. For this purpose we demand that independent national and international observers to be given access to the region and that they be allowed to monitor and report on the incidents… [the rest is here].

According to The Guardian, “the case has been taken up by Turkish federal prosecutors in Istanbul, with all 1,128 Turkish signatories of the petition under investigation…. If convicted, they could face between one and five years in prison.”

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, himself “fired off an angry tirade against ‘those so-called intellectuals’ accusing them of ‘treason’ and being the ‘fifth columns’ of foreign powers, sympathising with terrorists and bent on undermining Turkey’s national security.”

Meanwhile, according Hurriyet Daily News, the government has been joined in its condemnation of the academics by a well-known criminal:

A notorious convicted criminal has publicly issued death threats against academics and intellectuals who called on the Turkish government to end security operations in Southeast Anatolia, just a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan labeled more than 1,000 national and international academics as “poor excuses for intellectuals.”

“We will let your blood in streams and we will take a shower in your blood,” Sedat Peker, a well-known convicted criminal, said in a message posted to his personal website.
Statements of support for the academics have been issued by:

If you have further information about the situation in Turkey and responses to it, please add it in the comments.

Thanks to Jack Woods (Bilkent) for providing the links in this post.

UPDATE: Chad Kautzer (CU Denver) in the comments links to a statement of support for U.S. academics to sign.



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