Over 1100 academics from 89 universities in Turkey had gathered in a meeting hall in Taksim, Istanbul on the 11th of January, to compile a declaration calling for peace. The original text demanded Turkish government to end the “siege” in the Southeastern cities of Turkey, and reiterated the motto of the text -which later came to be the title of it- stating “we will not be party to this crime!”
The academics have seen violent reactions since then; their offices have been raided and marked (marking doors have been a reminder of earlier massacres in modern Turkish history), some of them have been subjected to pressure on campuses, intimidation in daily life, they have been subjected to hate campaigns by pro-government media and the government officials have stated that these academics will face dearest of all punishments for “complying with terrorism through means of academia”. A notorious criminal who had been awarded “the Khan of all Turks” title by the Ministry of Culture, Peker said “There will be rivers of blood, and I will bathe in the blood of the academics who do not wish to be party to a crime.”
Upon violent intimidation of the academics, the declaration had been opened for further signatures in Turkey and abroad, and over 2000 academics have signed the petition including Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, Etienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Immanuel Wallertein. Although there has been somewhat international declaration of solidarity from individual academics and civil bodies, due to lack of unwavering commitment by International Political Science Association (IPSA), the academics for peace had also started a call for a boycott of the IPSA’s 24th World Congress that was originally to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. There have been legal investigations against 1128, suspension of 27, termination of 40, and threatening of 47 academics so far, and legal action is expanding against those who criticize the ongoing state violence against civilians. The repression of academics had ignited many other professional platforms and they had started new petitions calling for peace and declaring solidarity as Writers for Peace, Translators for Peace, Students for Peace, Cinema for Peace, Theatres for Peace, Journalists for Peace, Lawyers for Peace, Doctors for Peace, Pharmacists for Peace, Pensioners for Peace, Unionists for Peace, Tourist Guides for Peace, and White Flag for Peace.
The original peace declaration had called for a return to negotiation table and a democratic solution without state imposing violence on its citizens. However the excessive reactions to the original declaration came to such a level that a second declaration had been drafted with a headline “Regardless of all threats, we will not back off”. The three professors who had read out this second declaration, Esra Mungan of Bosphorus University, Muzaffer Kaya of Nisantasi University, and Kivanc Ersoy of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, had been called to the courthouse to be questioned about their statement, later on transferred to the prosecutor on duty, who then arrested the academics for “propagating for a terrorist organization” and “humiliating the Republic of Turkey and its organs section of the [infamous] Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code of protection of Turkishness”.
Bogazici University President Gulay Barbarosoglu applied to the chief prosecutor for academics to be released from prison during trial period.
“Very dear, initially the students, academics, staff including the contractual workers, Boğaziçi!
Despite all the terror and pressure, we the one who desire peace, continue standing behind our promise. We and all those united around peace, and all of us, will continue in our struggle for a Turkey where there is respect to human rights, dedicated to domestic law and the universal law principles that she must comply with, fully democratic, independent, egalitarian and pro-liberty, where no one suppresses another, and where it is possible to coexist in plurality. I hug you all!”