In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, Jan 18, 2016

The discussion over a petition signed by 1,128 academics that calls for the restoration of peace in the conflict-torn Southeast has heated up with additional declarations from more academics, student groups, jurists and intellectuals.

Academics in Eskişehir, Turkey issue statement to the press in front of Eskişehir Courthouse to be in solidarity with colleagues under attack by Turkish gov't (photo DHA)

Academics in Eskişehir, Turkey issue statement to the press in front of Eskişehir Courthouse to be in solidarity with colleagues under attack by Turkish gov’t (photo DHA)

In another declaration opened for signature on Sunday, hundreds of academics, politicians, members of civil society groups, jurists and representatives from labor unions declared their support for the 1,128 academics, some of whom have undergone investigation for their call demanding a stop to the military campaign and a return to the negotiating table to seek a peaceful solution to the country’s Kurdish problem.

Turkey has been turned into a country where academics are faced with explicit threats [from politicians], where provinces are kept under long-term curfews and where bombs are detonated in [public] squares. We declare our solidarity with those academics who have faced pressure and undergone investigations [for pointing out the chaotic environment],” the declaration called “Academics cannot be silenced” read.

The petition includes among its signatories academics Aziz Konukman, Feti Açıkel, Galip Yalman, Gamze Yücesan Özdemir, Hayri Kozanoğlu, Korkut Boratav, Raşit Kaya, Taner Timur, Tülin Öngen, along with many others.

One of the signatories, Professor Boratav, said at a press conference in Ankara on Sunday that the current operations of the [government] are no different from the military coup and mindset of Kenan Evren [in 1980].”

In addition, 137 student groups from various universities across the country launched a campaign called “Universities want peace” in order to show their support for the academics who have been subjected to investigations and detentions as well as criticism by the pro-government media, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) politicians and pro-government academics.

The number of signatures for the campaign launched on website change.org has reached over 35,000.

“The academics who sought peace have faced an unprecedented criticism leveled particularly by [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and members of the government. They were labeled ‘traitors’ and accused of ‘disseminating terrorist propaganda’ and so on. So-called gang leader Sedat Peker made a threat, saying he would spill the blood of the academics and bathe in it. Finally, YÖK [Higher Education Board] has given full authority to the university administrations of those academics to carry out administrative investigations. We will never give up defending both peace and the universities,” the online statement concluded.

Counter-declaration from academics reaches nearly 5,000 signatories

A counter-declaration, “Academics are against terrorism,” launched on the website terorekarsiyiz.com has reached nearly 5,000 signatures in the last three days.

It was led by academic Metin Aksoy from Selçuk University in Konya and he said on Sunday that the main theme of the declaration is a stand against the terrorism that has ripped apart the country and the understanding of living together in Turkey, adding, “Terrorism undermines the sense of brotherhood and prevents democratization in society.”

He also criticized the declaration that was initially signed by 1,228 academics and that has now reached over 2,000 signatories, accusing them of remaining silent over the death of a 4-year-old child at the hands of terrorists.

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into dozens of academics who signed the declaration soon after Erdoğan accused the signatories of “treachery.” More than 20 of them were detained, but were later released on Friday.

Read also:
CHP leader faces investigation for calling Erdogan ‘tinpot dictator’, Today’s Zaman, Jan 18, 2016

Erdogan takes main opposition leader to court for compensation over ‘insult’, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 18, 2016

Ultranationalist Homeland Party seeks closure of pro-Kurdish HDP , Today’s Zaman, Jan 18, 2016

Academics support colleagues under probe in Turkey, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 18, 2016

Hundreds of Turkish academics have expressed solidarity with their colleagues suspected of terrorism crimes after signing a petition to call for an end to ongoing violence in southeastern Turkey in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News. “Democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression,” said the statement signed by 610 academics from various universities including some in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Turkey…

Capital inflow to Turkey down 73 percent in Jan-Nov 2015Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 18, 2016

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