Academics arrested due to a letter that calls Erdogan to stop the raids against the Kurds

Academics arrested due to a letter that calls Erdogan to stop the raids against the Kurds

Ankara, January 15, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Manolis Kostidis

Like a bomb dropped in Turkey the news of the arrest of 16 academics because they had signed an open letter accusing the Turkish government for the raids against the Kurds in Southeastern Turkey, calling it to stop the “deliberate massacre and deportations of Kurds”.

The academics of the University Kocaeli are being interrogated on charges of “propaganda in favour of a terrorist organization”.

Last week, 1128 academics from 90 universities in Turkey, along with colleagues from abroad had written and co-signed a letter accusing the government of violating “countless” articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his speech on Thursday accused them as traitors and stressed that the “self-proclaimed intellectuals are acting on behalf of foreign powers who want to undermine Turkey’s national security”. The Turkish President then invited the judicial authorities to do “what they must”.

In Gaziantep, police began searches in the residences of professors who signed the declaration, while prosecutors ordered a preliminary investigation against 20 academics.

Information indicates that other professors stand the risk of arrest and are facing the possibility of 5 year in prison.

Already nationalists are threatening many teachers while the mafia boss Sedat Peker threatened that he will “bathe with the blood of the traitors academic”! There was an intervention from a prosecutor only at the request of some teachers.

“Clearly the declaration of the teachers is not correct, it may even have suggestions against the state, but they do not call anyone to take up arms. And we can not ignore that this effort is part of the freedom of expression”, says the columnist for Hürriyet Akif Beki.

Erdogan called on those foreign scholars who signed the peace memorandum, such as Noam Chomsky, to visit the region of Southeastern Turkey “to see the real picture”.

Chomsky rejected the invitation of the Turkish President saying that “if I ever go to Turkey it won’t be on the invitation of President Erdogan, but because of the request of several courageous, political objectors who are being subjected to incredible pressure for years”.

The Turkish army and the police have imposed for 40 days a curfew on the cities Cizre and Silopi, as well as the Sur district of Diyarbakir in Southeast Turkey, in order to root out the PKK, according to the authorities.

Because of the street battles entire neighborhoods have been leveled and dozens of civilians and members of the security forces killed, while at least 200,000 people have fled from these cities.