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.
At the end of 2015, the predominantly Kurdish regions of Turkey entered an intensifying spiral of violence. Curfews were enforced in different cities and districts lasting for days, weeks and even months. Entire neighbourhoods were razed to the ground. People were left homeless, many lost their lives. In the face of these developments, 1128 academics decided not to remain silent and issued a statement titled “We will not be a party to this crime!”. It called on the government and the security forces to abide by domestic and international law and to return to the peace process that had been interrupted after the national elections of June 7, 2015. After the petition was made public, the Academics for Peace were specifically targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and subsequently turned into objects of hatred and defamation in the media. Since then, they have been attacked and threatened and became subject to administrative and criminal investigations. Some were arrested and kept in prison for more than one month. Hundreds of them have been dismissed from their positions by order of the Council of Education and university administrations. Under the state of emergency declared after the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, hundreds of Academics for Peace were removed from universities and banned from public service. Their passports have been invalidated hindering these academics from travelling abroad. In December 2017, judicial proceedings begin against the signatories, on the charge of “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
This blog is curated by Academics for Peace Germany e.V. Its aim is, on the one hand, to create an archive of factual and up-to-date information on the ongoing developments that researchers, journalists and others with an interest in the topic can rely on. On the other hand, this blog will provide contextualization and analysis from a variety of different disciplines and theoretic approaches, in preparation of a planned research network on the instrumentalization of law for the suppression of academic freedom in Turkey and elsewhere.