(Photo by Ozan Kose / AFP)
Trial of academics, who have been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the declaration entitled "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace, continued in Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse on October 17.
48 academics had their hearings at five separate courts. At the 33rd Heavy Penal Court, the Prosecutor's Office announced its opinion as to the accusations for 27 academics, whose cases had been combined; and at the 37th Heavy Penal Court, the Prosecutor's Office announced the decision for five academics. Both prosecutors demanded 7.5 years in prison for 32 academics as per the Anti-Terror Law. The trials will continue in February 2019.
As of October 17, 2018, 335 peace academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 28 of these academics were sentenced to one year and three months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Zubeyde Fusun Ustel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Busra Ersanli from Marmara University.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned about the professional retaliation against scientists and academics, whose rights to academic freedom and to free expression and association are expressly protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both to which Turkey is party.
The ongoing tensions in Turkey have a profoundly destructive effect on academic freedom and represent a grave threat to higher education and scientific contribution on both a national and international scale. We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide urge Turkish officials to honor their constitutional obligations to protect the civil, political, and academic freedom of scholars and scientists.