Online Campaign Stands in Solidarity with ‘Academics for Peace’ in Turkey

WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Research Institute on Turkey, Bostonbul, GIT-North America, and concerned academics from the United and Canada have launched an online campaign in solidarity with purged “Academics for Peace” in Turkey.

The groups have launched an online campaign in solidarity with purged ‘Academics for Peace’ in Turkey

“We urgently request donations to establish an emergency fund for ‘Academics for Peace’ to support the faculty who lost their jobs, pensions, and their right to travel abroad after the recent crackdown targeting academic freedom in Turkey. This fund will be made exclusively available to purged faculty through close collaboration with the union Egitim-Sen and other associations that are actively assisting the purged scholars at the local and international level,” reads a part of the statement put out by the groups.

In Jan. 2016, 1,128 concerned academics in Turkey (and 356 international scholars) signed a peace declaration called  “We will not be a party to this crime.” These academics, known as “Academics for Peace”, were then targeted by the Turkish government and the media, because they called upon the state authorities to end the curfews and stop the human right violations in heavily Kurdish-populated provinces of Turkey.

Signatories were prosecuted and subjected to disciplinary investigations by their universities. This persecution inspired widespread solidarity campaigns around the world, which have collected over 2,000 signatures. Thousands of academics and academic organizations around the world condemned the prosecutions, including the National Academy of Sciences Human Rights Commission that published a statement signed by several Nobel Prize laureates.

As of March 2017, at least 383 signatories, many of whom are leading academics in their fields, have been purged from Turkish universities through several statutory decrees and forced resignations. Four academics were detained, and many more had to flee the country. It is unclear if those affected will be able to appeal the decisions that ended their careers, canceled their passports, and banned their travel. The path to reversing the unjust decisions is long and arduous. During this time, these scholars need to sustain their lives and support their families. Funds for this campaign will be fully allocated to financially support the ‘Academics for Peace’ through close collaboration with their union Egitim-Sen and other associations, which are actively assisting the purged scholars at the local and international level.

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