27 Turkish Academics Arrested

January 25, 2016 | News

27 Turkish Academics were arrested following a petition that opposed military violence against the ethnically Kurdish communities in Turkey.

On 11 January 2016, a petition was posted protesting government violence against Kurdish communities in the south-east of Turkey.  Over 1000 academics signed the petition calling for an end to ‘the deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish people‘. The government denounced the petition as ‘treachery’ and detained 27 signatories.

Despite all 27 academics being released on 15 January, their detention has raised  concerns over the freedom of expression in Turkey. The US ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, publicly criticised against the conduct of the Turkish government, saying that ‘In democratic societies it is imperative that citizens have the opportunity to express their views, even controversial or unpopular ones. Expression and concerns against violence does not equal support for terrorism. Criticism of government does not equal treason.

Despite the criticisms President Tayyip Erdogan maintains that the academics are terrorist sympathisers.