Turkey Arrests Dozens of Academics Who Signed Peace Petition As Enemies of the State

220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganTurkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian rule is again evident this week with the rounding up of dozens of professors for simply signing a petition denouncing military operations against Kurds in the south-east of the country. The signatories of the petition included famous linguist Noam Chomsky and the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Erdoğan responded angrily to the letter, which was denounced as “terror propaganda” and he called on the judiciary to act against their alleged treachery. Supporters of Erdoğan and nationalist students have been intimidating academics by marking their doors and threatening professors who signed the petition calling for peace.

Like most of the world, we have watched the rapid decline of civil liberties in Turkey after the election of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his coalition of Islamic parties. Just last month, we discussed the arrest of Mehmet Emin Altunses, 16, who allegedly committed the crime of “insulting” Erdoğan. calling people who use birth control “traitors” and saying Muslims discovered America, you are not allowed to be disrespectful or insulting in discussing Erdoğan. Then there was the prosecution of model and former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac, 26, for criticizing Erdogan for quoting a few lines from a poem called the “Master’s Poem” from weekly Turkish satirical magazine Uykusuz. Erdoğan’s totalitarian measures have earned him the nickname “Buyuk Usta” (the Big Master). Even a joking reference to Gollum and Erdoğan is enough to land you in jail today in Turkey.

The petition at the heart of the most recent Erdoğan crackdown is pure political speech. These academics signed a petition together with more than 1,400 others calling for an end to Turkey’s “deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish people”. Ninety universities were represented on the petition with academics calling themselves “Academicians for Peace.” Erdoğan simply labeled them terrorists and demanded immediate action against them.

CYwcM3GUMAAbFFXEqually disturbing is how nationalist students have been marking the doors of professors who have spoken against the government. Also chilling is the alliance of organized crime with the government and vigilantes. This is not the first time that nationalist and authoritarian governments have been supported by organized crime. However, a message from notorious crime boss, Sedat Peker, is ominous. Peter declared on his website (sedatpeker.com) that “You should be thanking the police and military that you have tried to discredit. If those terrorists achieve the mission of causing the Muslim Turks’ state to fail, then it will the beginning of frightening times for you. At that moment, the bell will toll for you all. … I would like to say it again: We will spill your blood and we will take shower with your blood!!”

This is the state of Turkey after the rise of our ally Erdoğan. When his Islamic parties joined to elect him, Erdoğan assured Turks that he would not seek to curtail rights or impose Islamic rules. He then proceeded to rollback on religious freedoms, free press, free speech, and basic associational rights while expanding his own power. What was the world’s greatest hope for a secular and modern government among Muslim nations was dismantled by Erdoğan and his increasingly violent supporters.

The effort of these brave academics to stand against his government (even in the face of threats from their own students) is a profile of courage for all academics around the world.

28 thoughts on “Turkey Arrests Dozens of Academics Who Signed Peace Petition As Enemies of the State”

  1. @Rick
    1, January 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm
    “Ken Rogers
    have you considered applying for a position with the Turkish secret police?

    “What’s their pay scale? Does the benefits package include extorting sex from suspects and/or their family members?”

    I don’t know.

    How important to you as a benefit is being able to extort sex from suspects and/or their family members?

  2. Well, there goes Turkey, which has been hailed–at least, previously hailed–as this successful, Muslim bastion of modernity and secularism. It was nice knowing ya while it lasted. Touted as the shining example of what a country, composed mostly of Muslims, could be, that is all now a quaint memory. Ciao, fantastic and fascinating bazaar in Istanbul, where I know that I should have bought that cute, little hand-embroidered peasant top while I could. I have no intention of going back any time soon, so, maybe, could you ship it? For decades, the Turks have been famously furious regarding the release of the film, Midnight Express, from 1978, which chronicled the true story of an American kid, caught smuggling drugs in Turkey and the ensuing harrowing and nightmarish years that followed while he was trapped in Turkish prisons. They claim that the film destroyed and sullied their national reputation, costing the country millions and millions in lost revenue due to the film’s depiction of Turkish society. Well, Turkey, fret no more. You can now produce your own classic–Erdogan Express.

  3. Erdogan sounds a lot like Lincoln.

    Has Erdogan suspended Habeas Corpus yet?

    How about the right to private property that redistribution, welfare, affirmative action, social services and “Fair Housing” have nullified?

    How about freedom of speech, thought and assembly, that “racism,” “bigotry,” “hate-whatever,” unfair “Fair Housing,” “Non-Discrimination Law,” etc. have all nullified?

    I know Erdogan hasn’t denied SECESSION because secession is an innate right that Catalonia, Scotland, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Virginia and the entire USSR availed themselves of.

    It’s dubious if Erdogan will ever achieve the level of dictatorship, despotism, violence and nullification of founding documents that the religious zealot, Crazy Abe Lincoln, forced on America during his “Reign of Terror.”

    America. The land of the free…

  4. This article is insensitive to Islam. You cannot mention anything bad in connection with Islam as Islam is always good and peaceful. And anyone who says or thinks differently is a racist, a bigot, and an Islamophobe. JT of all people should know and observe this “progressive” principle, even though it conflicts with reality. Reality is overrated anyway.

  5. Ken Rogers
    have you considered applying for a position with the Turkish secret police?

    What’s their pay scale? Does the benefits package include extorting sex from suspects and/or their family members?

  6. If they do not enforce the NATO Treaty against Turkey either or both NATO and our alliance with Turkey needs to be ended. I would like to take my wife back to my old haunts in Turkey,but as long as the Islamics are running the show, it will be a cold day in hell before I set foot there again.

  7. End NATO as it exists. Turkey is not on the North Atlantic. Neither is Lithuiania.

  8. Justice Holmes,
    Do you know if there is a clause in the NATO treaty requiring participating countries to adhere to International Human Rights standards or risk being kicked out of the alliance?

  9. Oh, what a handy word TERRORIST has become since the inception of The PATRIOT ACT. Terrorists, terror propaganda, eco-terrorism, narco terrorism, cyber terrorism, once you slap that “terrorist” label on an action, your rights to due process are immediately abrogated.

  10. @Rick
    1, January 15, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Assuming that you don’t have any activist skeletons in your own closet (such as attendance at a PTA or Neighborhood Watch meeting in the past) and that you’re passingly handy with a can of spray paint and a pair of pliers, have you considered applying for a position with the Turkish secret police?

    Your serving in that capacity would not only afford an opportunity to closely question some academic parasites concerning their peacenik tendencies , but could also give a boost to Turkey’s construction industry.

    What do you think?

  11. If Academics support Kurdish people then there’s problem. Kurds fight ISIS while Turkey’s armed forces hide behind skirt of woman. Probably a Kurd female fighting ISIS.

  12. If you’re going to arrest a scholar Chomsky is a good choice. I had never heard about Muslims claiming to have discovered America, only the Chinese. I think such things are helpful by showing how easy it is to claim to have “proven” anything. Thoughtful people can then apply this to others trying to revise history.

    Speaking or revisionists (and activists, not much different) imagine how much better off we’d be if all those unproductive people actually produced something for a living. How many more apartment complexes and clinics would we have?

  13. Let me help you out there Lloyd He and his nationalist students remind me of Hitler and his brownshirts.I’m not sure what you call a leader that seeks to destroy the natural rights of it citizens but we’ve been there before and we’re working on getting there again. We call it being a tyrant, plain and simple.

  14. Those damn secular liberals are always taking away freedoms!!!! What? He’s not a liberal? Erdogan is a religious conservative authoritarian? Nevermind….. It’s Obama’s fault!!!!!

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