A Statement by Peace Bloc on Academics in Turkey

As academics committed to seeking knowledge and to the free dissemination of information, Peace Bloc is appalled by the repression, persecution and prosecution of Turkish scholars for 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.