Academics’ call for peace in Turkey: from “going public” to “getting persecuted”
Supported by hundreds of international colleagues like Judith Butler, David Harvey and Noam Chomsky, in Turkey, more than 1300 academics have signed a petition calling for an end to the violence in the Southeast. Now Turkish prosecutors have started to investigate these academics.
Just a few days after the brutal terror attack on tourists took place in Istanbul, Turkish president Erdoğan and prime minister Davutoğlu used this tragic event to attack a petition by “Academics For Peace” that has called for an end to the violence in the Southeast of Turkey. The academics’ petition was signed by almost 2000 Turkish and international colleagues including Judith Butler, David Graeber, David Harvey, Noam Chomsky, Etienne Balibar, Erik Swyngedouw, andmany others:
“As academics and researchers of this country, we will not be a party to this crime!
The Turkish state has effectively condemned its citizens in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, and many other towns and neighborhoods in the Kurdish provinces to hunger through its use of curfews that have been ongoing for weeks. It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons and equipment that would only be mobilized in wartime. As a result, the right to life, liberty, and security, and in particular the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment protected by the constitution and international conventions have been violated.
This deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law.
We demand the state to abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region. We also demand the state to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage. For this purpose we demand that independent national and international observers to be given access to the region and that they be allowed to monitor and report on the incidents.
We demand the government to prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement. We demand inclusion of independent observers from broad sections of society in these negotiations. We also declare our willingness to volunteer as observers. We oppose suppression of any kind of the opposition.
We, as academics and researchers working on and/or in Turkey, declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state. We will continue advocacy with political parties, the parliament, and international public opinion until our demands are met.
For international support, please send your signature, name of your university and your title to email@example.com”
Academics For Peace: Why solidarity?
In Turkey, since 16 August 2015, there have been 58 officially confirmed, open-ended and round-the-clock curfews in at least 19 districts of 7 cities “imposing arbitrary restrictions on the freedom of movement of more than 200,000 people“. Now the Turkish Higher Education Council announced that it will launch an investigation against those who signed in Turkey.
Now, many who have signed the petition are already facing criminal charges, and may lose their jobs. Some colleagues have been detained. And apparently, at some universities the doors of researchers who support the call for peace and negotiations are marked with a big red X:
In this disturbing situation, showing solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey is much more crucial than ever. We all have peers and friends that might suffer severe consequences for their courage of going public. So please, think about sending your signature, name of your university and your title to firstname.lastname@example.org too, and support their cause.
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