WE CONDEMN THE ARBITRARY DISMISSAL OF ‘ACADEMICS FOR PEACE’ IN TURKEY
On 2nd January 2016 more than 2000 scholars from Turkey, and several thousand more international scholars from abroad signed a petition titled, ‘We will not be a party to this crime’, condemning state violence against Turkey’s Kurdish citizens. Since then the signatories (‘Academics for Peace’) have been subjected to heavy pressure and persecution by the state. Hundreds have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Many academics and other staff have been dismissed or suspended, some were forced to resign or leave the country.
Turkey experienced a failed coup on 15/16 July 2016, and the AKP government declared the religious group led by the US resident Fethullah Gülen responsible. On the pretext of purging Gülen affiliated individuals from public service, the AKP government, and university administrations all over the country, continued to target ‘Academics for Peace’. Describing ‘enemies of the state’, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his close associates habitually band Academics for Peace together with coup conspirators, Gülenists, the PKK, and the Turkish left. This imaginary coalition has been devised to criminalise critics, marginalise dissent and detract from the actual problems facing Turkey today.
More than 50,000 public employees were expelled from their posts within a few days of the failed coup. In the latest mass purge, on 1st September 2016, in the context of emergency rule, the cabinet decreed that forty-one of the Peace Petition signatories be included amongst a list of ‘supporters of terrorism’. This decree meant that they have been, along with more than 40,000 public service employees (and many democratically elected Kurdish local government representatives in the Eastern and South-eastern provinces of Turkey) barred for life from employment in the public sector.
We decry the abuse of emergency powers for political gain. It is deeply troubling that a democratically elected government of Turkey is taking advantage of emergency powers to eliminate all critical voices, regardless of what they are trying to say. We urgently demand that all victims of arbitrary dismissal in Turkey are reinstated to their positions and have their employee rights fully restored.
Linda Ahall, Lecturer in International Relations, Keele University
Sophie Allen, Lecturer in Philosophy, Keele University
Sorin Baiasu, Professor of Philosophy, Keele University
Elisabeth Carter, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Keele University
Philip Catney, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Keele University
Brian Doherty, Professor of Political Sociology, Keele University
Giuseppina D’Oro, Reader in Philosophy, Keele University
Kyril Drezov, Lecturer in Politics, Keele University
Bulent Gokay, Professor of International Relations, Keele University
Marit Hammond, Lecturer in Politics, Keele University
Christopher Huggins, Teaching Fellow in European Politics, Keele University
Robert Ladrech, Professor of European Politics, Keele University
Moran Mandelbaum, Lecturer in International Relations, Keele University
Jonathan Parker, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Keele University
Helen Parr, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Keele University
Barry Ryan, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Keele University
James Tartaglia, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Keele University
John Vogler, Professor of Politics, Keele University
Matthew Wyman, Senior Teaching Fellow in Politics, Keele University
Ilia Xypolia, Teaching Fellow, University of Aberdeen