The Academics for Peace petition denouncing a Constitutional Court (AYM) decision is now shrouded in controversy after three academics whose names were on a list of signatories protested that they never signed the document.
The Academics for Peace are a total of 1,128 staff from 90 Turkish universities who became the first signatories of a peace declaration entitled ‘We will not be a party to this crime,’ which also later found international support.
The declaration urged the end of clashes between state forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern provinces.
The Turkish government has classified PKK, an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in predominantly Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey for more than three decades, as a terrorist organization.
AYM recently ruled that the Turkish judiciary had violated the rights of the Academics for Peace by charging them with terror offenses for signing a peace declaration.
Following the AYM’s verdict on the case, 1,071 pro-government academics late on Monday released a petition called ‘The Constitutional Court cannot legitimize terror’ and argued that the ruling is “scandalous” and “against the public conscience.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ozgur Ozel claimed that the number of signatures shows that the petition was prepared upon an order by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
“What is 1071? The soul of Malazgirt. If it [the number] is not 1,070 or 1,072, it is clear that this is done upon an order,” the MP said, referring to the Battle of Manzikert where the Seljuq Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire in the year 1071.
“What does it mean to collect 1,071 signatures? The verdicts of the Constitutional Court are binding for everyone,” Ozel added.
Rulings of the AYM are binding for all subordinate courts across Turkey’s legal landscape and judicial system.
Soon after the release of the petition denouncing the AYM verdict, three academics whose names were added in the list alleged that their signatures were used without their approval.
Dr. Serif Eskin, an academic from the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University in Istanbul, denied having signed the petition on social media.
“I am neither aware of such declaration is prepared, nor was asked by anyone if I will sign it,” he said on his Twitter account.
Emphasizing that it is a shame that his name was used without his approval and that the list of signatories was published in countless places, Eskin added that he will use his legal rights if the error is not corrected.
Eskin’s Twitter page became inaccessible soon after his posts explaining the issue.
Another academic whose name was included in the list allegedly without his knowledge, Prof. Dr. Ercan Eyuboglu from the Istanbul Aydin University, stated on Facebook that he is resentful towards his friends who think he could sign “such a thing.”
Speaking to Gazete Duvar news portal about the issue on Tuesday, Eyuboglu informed that he asked for a meeting with the university’s rectorates and is waiting for the incident to be clarified.
“I really did not sign the text. I think that the AYM’s decision is very significant and it should be complied with,” he noted.
The third academic arguing that she did not sign the petition was Dr. Anil Ozguc also from the Istanbul Aydin University.
“My signature is under a declaration the content of which and the way it was imposed are impossible to agree with. I expect those responsible to correct his violation,” she said on Twitter.
Takipçim yok,lütfen yayar mısınız?
İçeriğine ve dayatılma usulüne katılmanın mümkün olmadığı bir bildiride imzam yer almıştır. Sorumlularının bu ihlali düzeltmesini bekliyorum.
— Anıl Özgüç (@AnOzguc) July 30, 2019
Onguc spoke to the T24 news website, expressing that the university said in a statement that there has been a technical error and that they have been examining it. She added that she did not think the statement was truthful.
The number of the signatories dropped from 1,071 to 1,068 after the three academics’ statements denying that they signed the petition that condemns the AYM ruling.