In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. The signatories (Academics for Peace) have been subjected to heavy pressure and persecution. Hundreds of the Turkish academics have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, and violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or suspended, and some were forced to resign or leave the country. Many signatories are being sued on an individual basis on the accusation of “propagandizing for terror.” The public prosecutor proposes imprisonment extending up to seven and a half years.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned with the future of academic freedom, scientific research, and higher education in Turkey. Thousands of academics have lost their jobs, and hundreds among them have had to leave the country seeking refuge. Given the most recent developments, ESW feels the need to highlight the urgency of the situation in Turkey so that readers can better picture the greatness of the purge in scale and to show solidarity with the members of Academics for Peace who have been persecuted as a result of their peaceful activities and exercise of their freedom of speech.
Please click here to see the Call for Solidarity Actions for Academics for Peace from Turkey.
Call for Solidarity Actions for Academics for Peace from Turkey
The first court hearings start on December 5, 2017, at 9:00 pm in İstanbul Çağlayan Justice Palace.
As the signatories to the Peace Petition of January 11, 2016, we have gone through many various types of repression since we shared our claim to peace with the public by the declaration titled “We Will Not Be A Party To This Crime.” We have also experienced a variety of solidarity practices. Since January 2016, more than 500 of our colleagues were separated from their universities and from their students through dismissal from public service, firing, and forced retirement. Four of our colleagues were detained for weeks.
Today we are on the edge of a new phase. The signatories to the January 11 Peace Petition, publicly known as the Academics for Peace Petition, are being sued on an individual basis on the accusation of “propagandizing for terror” (See Turkish AntiTerror Law, Article 7/2). The public prosecutor proposes imprisonment extending to 7.5 years.
First the signatory academics from İstanbul University and Galatasaray University were sued at the Criminal Court. They were followed by the signatory academics from Marmara University, Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul Technical University, Özyeğin University and Kemerburgaz University. It is not clear who will be added to this chain.
The cases are opened with the same ‘copy and paste’ bill of indictment, but on an individual basis. The cases are distributed to different Criminal Courts, on different dates and in 10-minute intervals so as to preempt the sued academics from standing together.
As of November 15, 2017, only one tenth of the signatory academics have been sued. The cases are organized so as to extend from December 2017 to April 2018.
In due process, the support extended from members of universities and institutions in the country and abroad has been of the utmost importance to us. In this new turn of events, where we are well aware that it is not the individual academics who are being sued, but the claim to peace and the voice of the free science that put forth this claim that are on trial, we need your support more than ever. We hope to continue forming solidarity through close cooperation.
We call you to stand by us in the courts starting from December 5, 2017 by sending monitoring teams, by observers, generating news, and through transparency and dissemination of information.
As citizens of this country we will continue in our claim to peace and life and to stand against all kinds of rights violations and injustices.
We will continue to do so in ever growing solidarity.
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