A look at the coverage of Biden’s visit to Turkey and the implications of his visit for the peace process with the Kurdish minority and Academics for Peace Initiative

U.S. Vice President Biden’s visit to Turkey last Friday and Saturday (Jan 22-23) was a topsy-turvy one for a number of reasons and for various groups in Turkey from pro-government media institutions to those who want the armed clashes between the Turkish state and Kurdish guerrillas to end, including the ‘Academics for Peace’ signatories. Initially 1128 and now over 2000 Turkish academics are being accused of aiding terrorist organizations through a petition calling for an end to Turkey’s military operations in a number of southeastern provinces and thus, have also become the subject of discussion and target of pro-government media during Biden’s visit………

 

In other news…

HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş has said that fire opened on group of 15 people, 10 people wounded and they couldn’t be taken to hospital.

Gov’t denies talks with Öcalan or PKK heads, vows more military operations

A senior official has denied claims that the government is conducting secret talks with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, or any other PKK leaders, saying operations against PKK militants in east and southeast Turkey will continue
Stating that his wife Başak Demirtaş had received a sick report due to illness, HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş has apologized to his wife and the public for coming in the position of making such a statement.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found that a jail sentence given to a 15-year-old boy for attending a demonstration in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in 2008 was disproportionate
University Academic Members Association Board of Directors has announced that it defends the academic liberties and the freedom of expression of the academics.
A group of intellectuals and activists have expressed their support for Academics for Peace Initiative, and informing against themselves declared that they put their signature under the words of academics subjected to investigation.

Support for Academics from 1,500 Health Workers

The text signed by over 1,500 health workers has demanded academics voicing request for peace to remain untouched, peace in the country to be established, and life and keeping people alive to be made of top priority.
No solid legal steps have been taken in the nine years since Armenian-origin journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated outside his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, as thousands of people gathered to commemorate the late Agos editor-in-chief on the anniversary of his death
611 academics who haven’t signed the declaration titled “We will not be a party to this crime” signed by 1,128 academics have expressed support for the declaration.

Turkish academics deserve solidarity: the fight for academic freedom is global

One can only conclude that the Turkish Government’s heavy-handed reaction to petitions supporting arrested academics is the continuation of a wider trend of restricting civil liberties and freedom of speech.

Istanbul police suspend students protesting against YOK, November 2015.

Hundreds of academics from around the world have expressed solidarity with their colleagues suspected of terrorism crimes after signing a petition to call for an end to ongoing violence in southeastern Turkey in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News
Hundreds of Turkish academics have expressed solidarity with their colleagues suspected of terrorism crimes after signing a petition to call for an end to ongoing violence in southeastern Turkey in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News
Bülent Bilmez from Bilgi University, slammed the government-led smear against his colleagues and said there is an operation under way against freedom of expression in Turkey. “This campaign has turned into a witch hunt launched in a state of law. None
Okan University Presidency has expressed that opposing all sorts of terror acts and violence is a necessity for respect for human rights and that freedom of expression should be sensitively guarded.
137 student groups and student representations from various universities have said, “We are standing against massacre policies and threats, standing with our lecturers desiring peace”.
Agos Weekly Chief Editor Hrant Dink is being commemorated nine years after his death on the spot where he had been murdered. The crowd is chanting slogans “We are all Hrant, we are all Tahir Elçi”.

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