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.

Turkeymap2

 

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one academic from Turkey
one academic from Turkey
5 years ago

Thank you both for bringing this to the attention to the international community of philosophers. I’d like to add that several academics have already been detained. Several academics have been fired from their jobs or asked to resign. Some have received individual death threats.

The attack on the academics who have signed the petition is not limited to the state institutions. Erdogan’s speeches have been read as an invitation to attack academics by ultranationalist thugs as well and as assurance that if they do so they will not be prosecuted.

This website has some coverage in English: http://bianet.org/englishReport

Chad Kautzer
Chad Kautzer
5 years ago

Open Letter for U.S. academics. Please consider adding your name. Email [email protected] with your title, name, and affiliation. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UXZU47gA24YPLLbA-p4uysCKcO7uASisHX6xH3msk0U/edit?usp=sharingReport

Another philosopher in Turkey
Another philosopher in Turkey
5 years ago

There are now at least 38 universities that have started internal investigations into faculty who have signed pro-peace petition.
I know of some universities that have started investigations but are not included on this list.
http://t24.com.tr/haber/27-universitede-akademisyenlerin-bildirisine-tepki-ve-sorusturmalar,324286?utm_medium=social&utm_content=sharebutton&utm_source=twitter

At least 15 philosophers, some of whom received their Phds in the USA, signed the petition and are under threat.
I hope the APA releases statement that they are monitoring the situation with concern.Report

one academic from Turkey
one academic from Turkey
5 years ago

You can show your support to the Turkish academics by signing this letter: https://solidaritytoturkishacademics.wordpress.com/about/Report

Armen Marsoobian
Armen Marsoobian
5 years ago

I returned from Istanbul two days ago and witnessed first hand the unprecedented attack on academic freedom that is taking place in Turkey. This is the worst it has been since the days of the military junta. Professors are being dismissed, investigated and detained. Their lives are being put in danger. Since my work takes me to Turkey on a regular basis, I was advised early on by Turkish colleagues not to sign the peace petition because this could jeopardize my visa status. They urged me to seek support from colleagues in the States. The US ambassador has spoken out “diplomatically” against this crackdown but was viciously attacked by AKP politicians and been declared persona non grata by the mayor of Ankara (see: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/01/turkey-usa-ankara-mayor-ambassador.html) . Vice President Biden will be traveling to Turkey soon. I urge all readers to press the Obama administration and Biden to take up this issue with the Turkish government.Report