Eylem Sonbahar, İstanbul – Four academics who signed a petition declaring "We will not be a party to this crime", in reference to ongoing political turmoil in Turkey, had their eighth hearing at İstanbul 13. High Criminal Court today on charges of distributing terrorist propaganda.
Academics for Peace
Özlem Beyarslan, an associate professor at Boğaziçi University, faces charges of distributing terrorist propaganda for participating in a ‘Peace Petition’ launched by the Academics for Peace Initiative.
Three Turkish academics were sentenced to one year and three months in prison on 23 February, in a hearing at the İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Courthouse in a trial where they were charged with "terror propaganda."
İstanbul University research assistants Ayda Rona and Ezgi Pınar and retired Istanbul University professor İzzettin Önder were given the sentence under Turkey's Counterrorterrorsim Law 7/2, which criminalizes supporting the convictions of groups which are considered as terrorist organizations.
Another twelve academics appeared before courts in Istanbul on Jan. 18, facing terror propaganda charges for signing a petition in early 2016 which called on the Turkish government to put an end to security operations in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish-populated provinces, during which many rights violations targeting civilians allegedly occurred.
More than 1000 academics will appear before judges for signing the petition in the coming months. So far 77 academics have attended trials, the first of which was on Dec. 5, 2017.
Thousands of academics in Turkey have been sacked from university jobs under cabinet decrees issued as part of Turkey’s State of Emergency, declared a few days after an attempted coup in the country on July 15, 2016. Some of the academics dismissed from state universities include some 1128 people who signed a petition calling for an end to violence against civilians in the country’s Kurdish-populated provinces at the hands of Turkish security officers, who conducted military operations in the region in late 2015 and early 2016 during curfews announced in those cities.