The Peace Declaration came out of a growing anxiety of increasing number of civilians, older age citizens, women, children killed. For the regime, collateral damage can be ignored. The regime continuously blamed Israel or US but it is more fatal in collateral damage it causes… I know personally many academicians who signed up the statement out of peaceful anxieties. There are some intellectuals who might be acting like organic intellectuals for the PKK cause but most of those academicians are just peace demanding citizens who have nothing to do terrorism.
The wording of the statement has problems. There could definitely be a more open, inviting, less partisan wording. I do not know who produced it but i feel like some left wing Turkish academicians who live abroad are behind the document. They probably could not imagine whom this wording could harm; signers who live in Turkey’s fascistic small town Anatolia… Most of my colleagues are not happy with the wording but they signed up out of solidarity. However, wording is not an excuse to Turkish regime’s oppressive measures against the academicians.
The statement could easily be ignored. As usual, Erdoğan took it as a pretext to pursue his agenda. He changed the agenda, as a day before ISIS initiated a suicide bombing in Sultanahmet, İstanbul, killing many German tourists. A day after the declaration, PKK initiated a massive attack to a police station in Çınar, Diyarbakır. Erdoğan instead targeted academicians; an easy target and a good tool to change news agenda. Not to mention a broader agenda: Turkish regime is planning to make changes in higher education council law. Existing law is a fruit of 1980 coup d’etat. Expected amendments to the law will make it even more oppressive. The regime will have the legal means to start a massive purge in academia as well as confiscating private universities.
Academicians were not only targeted by political authorities but the attack was accompanied with civic support. Some students were involved in threatening scholars. What is worse is that in Erdoğan’s rhetoric against the academicians is the ultimate hatred of intellectualism. There is a growing anti-intellectualism in the country.
Turkey has become a model case how a fascist hegemony is established. Gramsci would love it (or of course would be sorry). Our Western friends may not be understanding the seriousness of situation. Or some know but Western states may not care as they have been allies with Saudi Arabia, the source of global Jihadist movements for ages. As long as Turkey’s authoritarians plays the game right with the Western allies, all is right in the Western front (Turkey now a hitman against Russia, allies with Israel etc).
I was not one of the signatories of the peace statement. Not that I do not support the basics of the statement but I do not know why but that statement did not reach me on time. I saw the statement after it was released. I witnessed how suffocating life can be. While my colleagues were under explicit threat, I keep my personal anxieties to this personal media I have. Some of my friends are already illegally fired from their universities. Probably they will legally fight back and win but there are irreparable emotional damages to academicians. I believe they have more to say publicly than I have a right to do.
This blog started in the beginning of 2004 Summer. From time to time, I have declared my turning points in my politics. The blog was a relatively neutral place until Hrant Dink Assassination. Retrospectively, I believe, that is when the downfall for the dream of a democratic regime under AKP began. Although I would still have some little bits of hopes, I gave up my general belief in Erdoğan as I posted this message in 2008. By 2009, I had serious doubts about the Ergenekon case. It served to replaced the military tutelage with a civil but autocratic regime. Still, I did have some hopes about the existing regime until the Gezi Resistance began. Erdoğan’s current manner of reactions took the ideal shape in Gezi and since then he is the same. His followers from all walks of life just follow the Leader. Unfortunately, Turkey’s so called cosmopolitan, heterogeneous society could not prevent the emergence of an increasingly Islamofascist regime. I do not believe anymore I can contribute to democratic developments in Turkey in near future. My heart is broken after the massacres in Suruc and Ankara last year. I have decided to move abroad. I am not in a hurry but I believe there is no reason to live in this extremely anti-intellectual, politically suffocating and culturally intolerant country. I hope to be somewhere where I can decently live and pursue my academic agendas. Since I love my job at Bilgi University, I have never looked for opportunities until now. But it is now time to slowly look around…