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