Turkey frees academics detained over petition on Kurds

Tens of academics were detained for signing a petition demanding military operations in the southeast to end.

    A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed last July followed by a major military campaign on Kurdish rebels [Reuters]
    A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed last July followed by a major military campaign on Kurdish rebels [Reuters]

    Turkish prosecutors have released tens of academics detained for signing a petition calling for an end to the army campaign against Kurdish rebels in the southeast of the country. 

    Friday's detentions over the petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 academics, targeted 21 scholars working for a state university in the northwestern city of Kocaeli and several more in other cities.

    The probe launched into the academics on Thursday was to look into possible charges of insulting the state and engaging in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is engaged in a bloody battle with Turkish forces. 

    "We ask the state to put an end to the violence it has been inflicting on citizens right now," the petition released earlier this week said.

    "We, as academics and researchers of this country, declare that we will not be silenced [and] become a party to this crime," it added.

    It also called for payment of compensation to citizens who suffered during the operations and for the preparation of conditions for peace talks to commence.

    Condemnation

    The declaration has been condemned by many, including government officials, for not mentioning or criticising the PKK.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have sharply criticised the petition, and Erdogan even called on the judiciary to act against the "treachery" of the signatories.


    READ MORE: Turkey detains academics over petition on Kurdish issue


    The petition was also signed by renowned foreign academics such as Noam Chomsky and David Harvey.

    Some of the academics retracted their support for the petition following the investigations launched by prosecutors and universities into them.

    Several signatory scholars have been suspended by universities.

    Turkey and the PKK announced a ceasefire in 2013, but it collapsed last July. Fighting has since resumed, with Turkey running an air campaign against the group that launched an armed rebellion more than 30 years ago.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.