Turkey: Friday’s detentions over the petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 academics, targeted those working for a state university in the northwestern city of Kocaeli. Turkish authorities have detained at least 15 academics after they called on the government to stop “breaches of rights” during the army’s military offensive against Kurdish rebels in the country’s southeast.
The probe launched into the academics on Thursday looks 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. State media reported that further detentions were to follow.
“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.
The petition, which was also signed by renowned foreign academics such as Noam Chomsky and David Harvey, also called on the government “to stop declaring military curfews in the region and punish violators of human rights” within the security forces. 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.