President of the Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who is not the head of government but acts as such in violation of the Constitution of the country) slammed the academics for their protest (http://www.hurriyetdailynews. com/erdogan-slams-academics- over-petition-invites-chomsky- to-turkey.aspx?PageID=238&NID= 93760&NewsCatID=338) and the Council of Higher Education (YOK), which is a creation of the generals who led the 1980 coup and regulates all public universities, started an investigation about the petitioners. Many university administrators have already taken punitive actions against their faculty. Several of the petitioners were subject to house or office raids by the police and arrested. They are charged with supporting terrorism because their declaration did not criticize PKK (the Kurdish militant organization)!
Below please see the text of a petition. If you would like to support it please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with a line indicating your name, academic title and institution. Please forward this message to your colleagues and invite them to sign the petition. You may ask your academic institution or professional organization to sign the petition and post it on its webpage, as well.
As academics and university administrators who are committed to seeking knowledge and to the free dissemination of information, we are appalled by the repression, persecution and prosecution of Turkish scholars for simply expressing their concern about the growing violence within the country and specifically, the state aggression and illegal treatment of citizens in the Kurdish region of the country.
The call of our colleagues in Turkey for their government to respect national and international laws and reopen negotiations with the representatives of Turkey’s Kurdish population (as well as to bring in independent observers to protect the human rights of the citizens of Turkey and investigate military operations in civilian areas) is a message of peace; it is intended to protect human life and property and to prevent further escalation of a conflict that threatens not only Turkey but the entire region.
We, the undersigned, extend our solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey and affirm their right, as citizens, seekers of knowledge, and persons of good conscience, to speak truth to power. We ask that the government of Turkey:
- cease the intimidation, persecution and prosecution of all those who have publicly expressed opposition to the current government’s policies, including the signatories of the petition, “ We Will Not Be Party To This Crime”;
- reorganize the Council of Higher Education, a creature of the 1980s military regime, in order to enable it to operate as a truly autonomous organization to coordinate research and facilitate the functions of all institutions of higher education, beyond the control of political parties and the government;
- respect the country’s commitment to rule of law, democracy, and human rights, especially the freedoms of thought, expression and the press, which are protected in the Constitution of Turkey and the international treaties to which Turkey has been a party.
- restart the “peace process” with Kurdish representatives that the government aborted for political motives on the eve of the June 2015 election.
Petition to support academics in Turkey
1,128 academics from 89 universities in Turkey, and over 355 academics and researchers from abroad have signed a text calling on state of Turkey to end state violence and prepare negotiation conditions.
Beyza Kural İstanbul – BIA News Desk 11 January 2016, Monday 15:18
While this item is outside of our blog’s normal topical scope, we post it in support of a friend! Please consider signing this important petition in support of academic freedom.