Since the first round of court hearings began on December 5, 2017, 242 of the over 1,000 Peace Academics have been on trial and received sentences. Trials proceeded on June 5, 2018 in Istanbul, where 15 signatories from several universities were charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and sentenced to 15 months in prison. The charges were deferred for 14 of the academics, but not for Büşra Ersanlı, an emeritus professor of political science at Marmara University.
During her third and most recent court hearing, Professor Ersanlı repeated her previous statement and demanded her acquittal. The court board ruled that she would be sentenced to one year and three months in prison. The board also ruled that the deferment of the verdict would not be implemented on the grounds that "no opinion as to her avoidance of committing offense has emerged considering her personality which does not express any remorse." Ersanlı has the right to object to the verdict in seven days.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned about the detention of and professional retaliation against academics in Turkey in response to their exercise of the rights to academic freedom, free expression, and free association, conduct that is 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 on a national scale. We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide urge Turkish officials to honor their constitutional obligations to protect the institutional integrity of universities and the academic freedom of scholars.
Please send appeals to the following:
His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President of Turkey
The Office of the President
06560 Bestepe, Ankara
Fax: +90 312 525 58 31
His Excellency Abdulhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay, Ankara
Fax: +90 312 419 3370