Excerpts from the Hearings

The following excerpts have been taken from the plea statements of the academics who have defended themselves before the court. (Will be updated regularly)

* The Statement of an academic from Istanbul University /December 7, 2017 / 34th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“I believe that I have responsibility regarding these deaths and clashes. I have also attended the peace march held in London before the Gulf War.

My aim is to stop people killing each other and make them live in peace. That is my concern. I have thought that there would be no inconvenience in undersigning a declaration whose title

* The Statement of an academic from Istanbul University /December 7, 2017 / 32th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“I have spent 16 full years in academia, and I have always wanted to remain in it. My only ideal is to lead a scientist’s life and serve the society.

I have undersigned the declaration dated January 11, 2016 solely for this reason. I was watching the events that have occurred in early 2016 with sorrow. I was aware of the applications made to ECHR by the lawyers. I have deeply felt the agony of the wounded people waiting for ambulance, the dead bodies being kept in refrigerators. In the end, I thought it (the declaration) would contribute to the struggle for peace. The nightmare has started when we became targeted in social media. I cannot understand the fact that we have ended up as defendants because of a text we have undersigned for the sake of peace. I demand my acquittance”.

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* The Statement of an emeritus academic from Istanbul University /December 7, 2017 / 32th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“The declaration only stresses the need for the establishment of peace and social tranquility*. However, I have failed to understand of what I’m being accused. I reject the accusation and request my acquittance.

It is not possible for me to take orders from anyone. My intention is not accusing the state, but asking it to find and judge the people, who have acted contrary to their duties and disregarded the delicacy for assuring the security of the local people.

* The Statement of an academic from Galatasaray University /December 7, 2017 / 32th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“I have undersigned the declaration in accordance with my values and principals, under a political ambient of re-occurring armed conflicts. As an individual, I see the human life and its dignity as the most supreme values. In this regard, the photos of the incidents that I have seen on the media had lead me to a pessimism about the future.

I have demanded for a just and sustainable peace for all the components of the society, that respects the freedom of expression and freedom of media.”

* The Statement of an emeritus academic from Marmara University /December 14, 2017 / 36th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“At the moment that I undersigned the declaration, there were terrible incidents in South-East. Various photos depicting the incidents were being circulated in Internet. That had created a deep sorrow in me.

By undersigning this declaration, I have called the state to restore the negotiation process. I haven’t thought that it would be counted as a crime. My addressee is the state. I haven’t taken any other organization as my addressee or recipient. I have never thought of making the propaganda of an organization. I am only one of the 1128 signatories and I have undersigned the text solely with humanitarian intentions.”

The Statement of an academic from Van Yuzuncu Yil University /December 19, 2017 / 32th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“As an academic, I’m in search for the truth. The prohibitions remain as an obstruct in front of the democracy and the democratic progress of the society. Our call is not an appraisal of violence, but on the contrary, it is call for the peace.”

* The Statement of an academic from Marmara University /December 21, 2017 / 33th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“If the same text would appear in front of me, I wouldn’t hesitate to undersign it again. I find it immoral and unconscientious to remain silent against the death of people. As an intellectual, an academician, and a citizen, I think that state bears the sole responsibility when it comes to murdering of people. The whole town would burn out if we do not shout out loud that “There is fire!”. It wasn’t something that I could do to show consent when terrible things are happening. I have seen it as a duty and I have undersigned it.

* The Statement of an academic from Marmara University /December 21, 2017 / 36th Assize Court, First Hearing:

“This case should not be seen as a regular remedy that has to be exhausted before applying to the European Court of Human Rights. I believe that our violated rights shall be restored here and now. I remain in the belief that you would decide in accordance with the constitution, the legislation, the law, and upon your conscientious persuasions and in an independent manner.

* The Statement of an academic from Istanbul University /December 22, 2017 / 32th Assize Court, Second Hearing:

“I am not defending myself. I want to tell you what I had been through since January 2016 as a human being and as a doctor. War, isolation, and torture harms the health and distorts the mental health, it causes diseases. Its best antidote is the peace. The human beings and animals foster in the ambient of peace and nature remains uneradicated under peace.”

* The Statement of an academic from Istanbul University /December 22, 2017 / 32nd Assize Court, Second Hearing

“I’m a research assistant that carries out her studies on social psychology. I will start my plea with making it clear why I have undersigned the petition. I was born in 1990 and raised up with an ignorance about the eastern parts of the country. What remains in my mind from the nineties is the deaths of the soldiers and police officers, and some journalists carrying out health inspections in bakery shops. As a Turk, I grew up unaware of what took place in the towns of the eastern parts of the country.

As my environment and sources of information have changed and expanded, I have found out that people had been through some life experiences other than the ones I knew. Even though I’m not the perpetrator of these incidents, as a Turk, I feel guilt and shame because of the incidents on the east. The discipline of social psychology tries to mediate through groups and help to ease mechanisms of forgiving. It focuses on the building processes of social peace and emotions of social guilt and shame. The negotiation process was important and promising for its potential in achieving this social peace.

“Under the de-conflict conditions we can struggle for a positive peace that includes social peace and equality. The text that we have undersigned is also important in this respect. For the establishment of peace. The conditions back then were full of violence and traumatic. In December, we have reached a report through social media that confirms the situation. Even if I weren’t an academic, I would still undersign the declaration as a person who has a feeling of equity.

“The knowledge introduced by social media had also lead me to undersign the declaration. I have not undersigned it upon the call of any external force or upon the directives of any organization. I have undersigned it with the intention of hindering the traumas that would be transferred to the future and with a feeling of equality. The declaration does not exhibit the crime elements as accused by the prosecutor. The accusation is unacceptable. I refuse to accept this accusation. I only demand for my acquittance by stating that I seek peace.

 

The Statement of an emeritus academic from Istanbul University /December 22, 2017 / 32nd Assize Court, Second Hearing

“Due to the grounds that I belong to an occupation that has focuses on keeping the human beings alive and healing them, I could not remain silent against the incidents in the south eastern parts of the country. I wanted the human rights violations that I have seen on media to be identified and their perpetrators to be punished. It is impossible for me to stay silent against what is happening in the country. I have undersigned this declaration that has been prepared with the intention of contributing to the processes of resolution of the social disputes and peace building. I believe it must be evaluated within the scope of freedom of thought and expression.

I did not get any instructions from anybody. The text does not include any element of violence. As a citizen and as an academician, I want solution and in this regard, my addressee and recipient is the state. As an academician that demands peace, I hereby demand my acquittance.”

The Statement of an academic from Istanbul University /December 22, 2017 / 32nd Assize Court, Second Hearing

“It is already worrying that the phenomena of war had long been deduced into numbers. In that period, the news of civilians dying in the region and the most fundamental rights being threatened even though the means of media and mass communication was in a poor stance. I am sure that it has evoked a prompt to help the peace to be established, not only in academicians but also, in many sectors of the society.

First of all, as a citizen and academician of this country, I don’t know to whom else I should have given my call for peace other than the existing political power in order to have an established and sustainable peace and having the citizens in the region their fundamental needs to be met. Additionally, there is no fashion of peace that includes any kind of violence or that can be interpreted to have included. This kind of an accusation is in total contrast with the essence of this signature.

Here, in this courtroom, instead of us, the people who wanted to take shower with our blood or the people who have targeted us in local and national newspapers by publishing our photos and names should have been on trial.

In the indictment, it is constantly dictated that the text “we will not be a party to this crime” shall be evaluated with an ‘historical perspective and a cyclical approach’. But I think it is pretty clear that the prosecutor’s office cannot achieve this through 1128 academics who have come together solely and only for demanding peace.

If the issue is ‘historical perspective and cyclical approach’, it is a sign of the arbitrariness of the process that the governmental officers have expressed their similar opinions in public during the negotiations of the solution process and none of them were charged for any crime. To conclude, I refute the artificial connections made in the indictment and the accusations arising from them and despite this arbitrary unlawfulness, I argue that the demand expressed in the text ‘we will not be party to this crime’ is a just and righteous demand.

* The Statement of an academic from Galatasaray University /December 22, 2017 / 32nd Assize Court, Second Hearing

“The civilian casualties of the conflict period had lead me to deep worries. Even though I had hopes about peace, the news of dead people coming from the region had loosened my belief in peace. I have undersigned the mentioned declaration with this concern, in order to stop the killings, to call for peace and to intervene in the process in urgency. For me, this text was intended to hinder the damage that some implementations that are carried out to cease the conflict could have caused in long and short terms.

I didn’t find it problematic to address only to the state. As a citizen and academician of this country, I have addressed to the officials of this country for I have thought that they should hear my voice. As an academic, who, in her lectures at the university, has frequently stresses the importance of thinking and freely expressing the opinions, I do not see it as a crime to make a call for ending the armed clashes that take place in my country.

It is very normal that, especially as a mother, I felt worried about the news of children being killed in the region. I do not accept my name to be articulated within a crime about terror.”

* The Statement of an academic from Galatasaray University /December 22, 2017 / 32nd Assize Court, Second Hearing

“Throughout the world military methods can only produce temporary policies that can only save the day. As a social scientist, our job is to think without being afraid of anything and expressing our opinions towards to authorities when necessary.

My signature under this declaration shall only be evaluated within the scope of freedom of thought and expression. I have undersigned the declaration to evoke the hopes for peace that had once arisen during the solution process.”

* The Statement of an academic from Marmara University /January 04, 2018 / 36th Assize Court, First Hearing

“I’m neither a hero nor an enemy, I’m just a human being with a conscience. I do not accept the assertion that this is a crime.”