On January 11, President Erdoğan accused 1128 academics of treason for signing  a call for peace in Turkey. In the call, the signatories stated that they would not be party either to the massacre against the Kurds or to Turkish’s state’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties. Following Erdoğan’s speech, hundreds of academics who signed the petition were subject to disciplinary and criminal investigations, detentions and suspensions. In response to this witch-hunt, a letter in support of academic freedom in Turkey was submitted to MPs and MEPs in Europe and published in the media in January. Nevertheless, the witch-hunt against the Academics for Peace continues. In fact, the threats faced by our colleagues in Turkey are now more worrying. Therefore, we would like to ask for your support again – to call on the international community and elected representative to exert pressure on the Turkish government. The text of the letter is below – and in the LINK here.

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Riceviamo e volentieri pubblichiamo.

Dear Colleague,

Thank you very much for signing the letter in support of Academics for Peace in Turkey. The letter has been published in the media and was sent to a large number of elected representatives, government officials, and professional organisations for increasing awareness and eliciting further support.

Nevertheless, the witch-hunt against the Academics for Peace continues. In fact, the threats faced by our colleagues in Turkey are now more worrying (see below). Therefore, we would like to ask for your support again – to call on the international community and elected representative to exert pressure on the Turkish government to end the persecution of the Academics for Peace and respect academic freedoms.

The text of the letter is below – and in the LINK here, which you can click to add your name to the list of signatories. If you decide to sign the petition, please add your affiliation and title on the “STREET ADDRESS” line. We are planning to send our letter to the relevant addresses by tomorrow (March 17th) at 6.00 pm (Greenwich Mean Time).

Mehmet Ugur, Ozlem Onaran, Cem Oyvat (University of Greenwich)

Janroj Yilmaz Keles (Middlesex University)

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The Turkish government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continue to oppress political dissent violently and illegally in Turkey. On January 11, President Erdoğan accused 1128 academics of treason for signing  a call for peace in Turkey. In the call, the signatories stated that they would not be party either to the massacre against the Kurds or to Turkish’s state’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties. Following Erdoğan’s speech, hundreds of academics who signed the petition were subject to disciplinary and criminal investigations, detentions and suspensions.

In response to this witch-hunt, we had signed a letter in support of academic freedom in Turkey and asked for ending the prosecution of Academics for Peace. The letter was submitted to MPs and MEPs in Europe and published in the media in January.

Yet the Turkish government did not heed the call for academic freedom and had intensified the witch-hunt against the Academics for Peace. As of 10 March 2016, the toll was as follows:

Public Universities Private Universities
Disciplinary investigations 464 43
Criminal investigations 153
Detentions 33
Suspensions 27
Contract termination 9 21
Forced resignations 5 1

Furthermore, on 15 March 2016 three academics were incarcerated for signing the original call of Academics for Peace and announcing that they will start an ‘Academic Vigil’. The arrested academics are:  Esra Mungan of Boğaziçi University, Kıvanç Ersoy of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, and Muzaffer Kaya, formerly of Nişantaşı University.

A fourth academic and a UK citizen, Chris Stephenson of Bilgi University, was detained for holding a vigil outside the court in support of the three academics and for carrying a Newroz (Kurdish New Year) invitation from a parliamentary party – the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). On 16 March 2016, the case of Chris Stephenson, who has been resident in Turkey since 1991, was transferred to another court with the demand of being deported, and he had to leave the country.

We ask the international community and elected representatives to call on the Turkish government to stop the witch hunt against Academics for Peace, respect academic freedoms, free the arrested academics, and re-instate all the academics suspended or expelled during the persecution campaign with compensation.

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To add your name to the list of signatories, please click on the LINK here.

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