A Case Against Academic Freedom: “They Are Trying To Isolate The Peace Academics”

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On the 5th of December 2017 , the hearings of the penal cases are starting to be held in Turkey, regarding the academics from several universities who have signed the peace declaration named “We will not be a party to this crime” in 2016.  According to the indictment, academics are being charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” and are facing 7,5 years of imprisonment. The indictments are being filed by Istanbul Public Chief Prosecutor’s Office. The exact number of academics who are all charged with the same indictment but on an individual basis. If all first signatories get indicted, the number will exceed a thousand.

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A Commentary on the Indictment against Academics for Peace

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The following text consists of a summary of the body of the Bill of Indictment with relevant commentaries in the footnotes. Although the penal case against the Academics for Peace petition has been filed on an individual basis regarding the signatories, each case shares a uniform Bill of Indictment [1]. Several High Criminal Courts in Istanbul have been appointed as the court-on-duty for the cases—each of them using this uniform Bill of Indictment as the basis of the criminal process. You can also read this commentary as a PDF. Continue reading

PARODIE DE JUSTICE POUR LES UNIVERSITAIRES À ISTANBUL

Benoit BastardSociologue directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS, ENS Paris-Saclay

J’étais ce jeudi 7 décembre matin au palais de justice, à la chambre 33, une cours criminelle spécialisée, comme plusieurs autres qui siègent aussi ce matin, la 32, la 34, dans les procès politiques. C’est le deuxième jour où comparaissent les collègues turcs mis en cause pour avoir signé la pétition des Academics for Peace. Ils sont doctorants, enseignants-chercheurs juniors et seniors ou même à la retraite. Ils sont historiens, philosophes, sociologues, etc. Des départements universitaires tout entiers passent au tribunal.

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“Though Academics for Peace Tried Separately, One Decision Will Affect the Whole Case” – An Extensive Interview with Lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu

 
As the Academics for Peace have been subjected to investigations and as they have been sued, volunteering lawyers stepped in to support them. We interviewed with O. Meriç Eyüboğlu who has so far supported the academics and who represents a large number of the academics in the new wave of the hearings that starts on December 5, 2017, about the whole process starting from the very first morning when the academics woke up with a raid.

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Turquie: Jugés Pour Avoir Demandé le Retour de la Paix Dans le Sud-Est

Par: Nicolas Cheviron, mediapar.fr

La justice turque a commencé mardi à juger 1 128 universitaires accusés de « propagande terroriste » parce qu’ils avaient signé, en janvier 2016, une pétition demandant l’arrêt des opérations militaires au cœur des villes kurdes du sud-est de la Turquie. Ils encourent jusqu’à sept ans et demi de prison.

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Noam Chomsky’s Short Commentary on the Penal Cases Against Academics for Peace

The penal case against the signers of the Academics for Peace petition is a shocking miscarriage of justice, which friends of the Turkish people can only view with dismay.  The wording of the indictment, throughout, makes it clear that the case is an assault against fundamental rights of free expression that should be zealously safeguarded.  To take only one example, the signers are accused of calling on the government “to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage.” These are entirely reasonable appeals, quite standard in free societies, and very natural and praiseworthy on the part of concerned citizens.  Those who feel that the petition misrepresents facts have ample opportunity to respond in a civilized manner.  There is nothing in the petition that supports terrorism in the slightest way.  The tortured attempt of the prosecution to distort a principled appeal for peace and justice into support for terrorism should not be tolerated in a society that values freedom and basic human rights.

Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor (emeritus), MIT
Laureate Professor, U. of Arizona

Source: https://anopenlettertothehannaharendtcenter.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/noam-chomskys-statement-to-turkish-trial-against-academics-for-peace/

Turkish Courts Set to Begin Hearings of Purged Dissidents in Academia

The arbitrary use of judicial power in targeting signatories of the January 2016 Academics for Peace petition is the latest in a long series of legal charges filed against civil society actors by authorities, and demonstrates the Turkish government’s ongoing campaign to silent dissent in all its forms.

On January 11, 2016, Academics for Peace circulated a petition titled “We Will Not be a Party to this Crime,” calling on the Turkish government to end its siege of Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey. After the failed July 2016 coup attempt, more than 4,000 academics were dismissed in a government effort to sweep out any opposition thinkers and Gulenist influences from higher education. Signatories of the Academics for Peace petition, many of whom have already been fired or forcibly retired from their positions, are now being tried on an individual basis on charges of “propagandizing for terror” under the Anti-Terror Law. The first court hearing is set for December 5, 2017, with others distributed among various criminal courts until April 2018. If convicted, more than 100 accused Academics for Peace signatories face up to seven and a half years in jail. Continue reading

Academics for Peace Blog

The law is usually associated as antagonistic to despotism, thought of as a source of freedom. But events in Turkey and other countries have shown how is the law instrumentalised in order to suppress academic freedom. This blog documents judicial proceedings against the Academics for Peace as an example to study a phenomenon that can be witnessed all over the globe. Continue reading