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


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