Turkey: Academics for Peace – Urgent Call for Solidarity

Academics for Peace Press Release

Urgent Call for Solidarity

5 September 2016

Members of “Academics for Peace” and Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim-SEN) have been removed from their positions in public higher education institutions permanently!

In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. Since then the signatories (“Academics for Peace”) have been subject to heavy pressure and persecution. Hundreds of them have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or suspended, some were forced to resign or leave the country.

Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and the Turkish government holds the religious group led by the US resident cleric Fethullah Gülen responsible. After the coup attempt, the Government and university administrations have continued targeting the Academics for Peace with the pretext of purging Gülen affiliated individuals from public service.

The latest mass purge came late at night on Thursday, September 1, 2016, via a cabinet decree within the context of the state of emergency rule. More than 41 Peace Petition signatories were deemed “supporters of terrorism” and banned from public service, alongside more than 40,000 public service employees. Note that many of the signatories have already been under administrative investigations for signing the Peace Petition for months, without a conclusion.

The dismissal of the signatories overnight with a fait accompli of a State of Emergency decree is a serious violation of their basic human right to fair trial and due process. Dismissed under the conditions of state of emergency, they will neither be able to appeal the decision nor work in public sector for a lifetime; their passports will also be revoked.

This latest attempt to purge Academics for Peace by linking them to coup plotters is outrageous and unacceptable. Government of Turkey is taking advantage of the State of Emergency rule to crack down all critical voices, including those who have no relation to the Gülen organization or the coup attempt.

We urgently demand that our colleagues get reinstated to their positions and have their employee rights fully restored.

Please disseminate our call for solidarity in your networks. Ask your college, university, professional organization, or union to publish a statement in support of academics in Turkey, and send it to government and university officials in Turkey.

Academics for Peace

The photo is from the press conference that took place on 11 January 2016, announcing the peace appeal by 1,128 academics. Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı are four academics currently held in pre-trial detention in Istanbul after they held a press conference on 10 March 2016, reiterating their support for a statement they had signed in January. The appeal for peace criticizing ongoing curfews and security operations in south eastern Turkey and calling for a resumption of peace talks between Turkey and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A further 1,084 academics since signed to appeal, bringing the total to 2,212 signatories.

Photo Credit: Amnesty USA – The photo is from the press conference that took place on 11 January 2016, announcing the peace appeal by 1,128 academics. Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı are four academics currently held in pre-trial detention in Istanbul after they held a press conference on 10 March 2016, reiterating their support for a statement they had signed in January. The appeal for peace criticizing ongoing curfews and security operations in south eastern Turkey and calling for a resumption of peace talks between Turkey and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A further 1,084 academics since signed to appeal, bringing the total to 2,212 signatories.

 

Contact Information for Your Reference:

 

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

Office of Prime Minister

Basbakanlik

06573 Ankara, Turkey

Administrative Aide, Ozel Kalem Mudurlugu Fax: ++90 312 403 62 82

Public Relations Department Fax: ++ 90 312 422 26 67

binali.yildirim@tbmm.gov.tr

 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı (President of Turkey)

cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

 

İsmail Kahraman

Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanı (President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly)

ismail.Kahraman@tbmm.gov.tr

 

Bekir Bozdağ

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Adalet Bakanı (Justice Minister of the Republic of Turkey)

Bekir.Bozdag@tbmm.gov.tr

info@adalet.gov.tr

 

Yekta Saraç

Türkiye Yüksek Öğretim Kurulu (YÖK) Başkanı (President of the Council of Higher Education)

cohe@yok.gov.tr

011 90 312 266 47 59

 

Serdar Kılıç

Turkish Ambassador to the United States

Fax: +1 202 612 67 44

embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

 

İsmet Yılmaz

Milli Eğitim Bakanı (Minister of National Education)

Atatürk Bulvarı No: 98 06650 Bakanlıklar Ankara, Turkey

Fax: +90 312 4188289+90 (312) 417 70 27

ismet.yilmaz@tbmm.org.tr