More than 500 of Turkey’s academics who have been acquitted of the terror charges they were facing over signing a petition urging peace in the country’s southeast in 2016 are demanding their jobs and other rights be reinstated.
The petition entitled – We will not be a party to this crime, in reference to the Turkish army’s use of heavy weaponry in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern provinces, was signed by over 2,000 academics in 2016.
Turkey’s ruling AK Party (AKP) dismissed hundreds of peace academics from their jobs for signing the petition through the state of emergency decrees it issued after 2016’s failed coup attempt.
Hundreds of signatories are also facing trial over terror-related charges for urging the end of clashes between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) through the petition.
Ankara lists PKK, an armed militant group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule mainly in southeastern Turkey since 1984, a terrorist organization.
A total of 522 academics have been acquitted since a July verdict by Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) said the judiciary had violated the academics’ right to freedom of expression by charging them with terror offenses for signing the peace petition.
Serkan Alan from Gazete Duvar news portal reported that the acquitted academics on Monday issued joint press statements including a list of demands in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Diyarbakir, Kocaeli and Antalya provinces.
The academics noted that lawsuits were filed against at least 822 of the petition’s signatories.
“All signatories of the peace declaration, who were forced to resign or retire, must be able to return to their duties in the institutions from where they were discharged, provided that they want to do so,” they demanded.
The academics also expressed that the condition of security and archive investigation in employment is an intervention against “the right to demand respect for privacy” guaranteed by Article 20 of the Constitution and must be ended immediately.
They further demanded the elimination of “attacks targeting the civil rights of academics for peace” through emergency decrees, saying that their passports must be returned to them and all other losses of rights must be compensated.
“The requirements of being a state of law must be fulfilled, the state-of-emergency decrees must be rescinded,” they said.
They also called on the AKP government to observe provisions of law and the international agreements that the country is a party to, so that social peace can be restored.