Support Academics for Peace! Sign the Petition!

Recently, a petition written by Turkish academics has circulated online, demanding an end to the Turkish government’s attacks on the Kurdish provinces of the country. Since the website where the petition is posted is constantly attacked by hackers, we at Allegra, decided to make it available via our own site. Support our Turkish colleagues and sign the petition!

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As academics and researchers of this country, we will not be a party to this crime!

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.

We demand the government to prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement. We demand inclusion of independent observers from broad sections of society in these negotiations. We also declare our willingness to volunteer as observers. We oppose suppression of any kind of the opposition.

We, as academics and researchers working on and/or in Turkey, declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state. We will continue advocacy with political parties, the parliament, and international public opinion until our demands are met.

For international support, please send your signature, name of your university and your title to info@barisicinakademisyenler.net

Background Note (as of 15 January)

This is now much more than yet another online petition. Since it was made public with an initial list of 1128 signatories from Turkey and 355 international supporters on 10 January, a multifaceted campaign targeting the signatories has been underway. The stakes have become high, especially for colleagues based in Turkey:

The targeting campaign started with a number of newspapers declaring the signatories “terrorist-supporters”, “PKK collaborators” and “traitors”. President Erdoğan gave a speech on 12 January in which he denounced the petition as “treason”, “colonialism” and “mandateism”, and scorned, insulted and threatened the signatories. On the same day, following the president’s speech, the Higher Education Council (the body that oversees universities in Turkey) announced that they would take measures against academics who signed the letter.

Since then 27 university administrations have either initiated formal action ranging from investigation to suspension of staff members who signed the petition, or declared their intention to do so.

On 13 January, Sedat Peker, ultranationalist mafia boss with known “deep state” ties and a following among fascist vigilantes, made explicit death threats to the signatories in a post on his official website saying he and his comrades would “shower in their blood”.

Since 14 January, a criminal investigation against the initial 1128 signatories has been underway, with charges carrying 1 to 5 year prison sentences.

As of 15 January, at least 28 academics in 4 cities (Kocaeli, Bursa, Erzurum, Bolu) have been detained in connection with this petition campaign and some have had their homes searched by the police. According to the lawyers following the case, most are released after they are interrogated by the prosecutors.

For reliable (if at times non-fluent) coverage in English, see http://bianet.org/english.

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