Turkey – Kurds – Conflict – Academics – Education – Unrest - Arrest

Turkey Arrests 18 Academics over ‘Pro-Kurdish’ Petition

Turkey Arrests 18 Academics over ‘Pro-Kurdish’ Petition
Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:14:18

Turkish police on Friday detained at least 18 academics who signed a petition criticizing a military crackdown in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, triggering new alarm about freedom of expression in the country.

In a rare rebuke to Washington’s NATO ally, the US ambassador to Turkey expressed alarm over the investigations, with Western concern on freedom of expression already riding high due to the detention since November 26 of two prominent opposition journalists.

They were arrested in raids targeting 21 academics accused of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” by signing a petition denouncing military operations against Kurdish rebels.

Fifteen academics and lecturers from the University of Kocaeli, near Istanbul, were initially detained, with another three academics from Uludag University in western Bursa province later held in their offices, Dogan news agency said.

The academics were questioned for a day before being released, Dogan reported late Friday.

Prosecutors on Thursday launched a vast investigation into over 1,200 academics from 90 Turkish universities for engaging in “terrorist propaganda” and “inciting hatred and enmity” by signing the petition.

Entitled “We won’t be a party to this crime,” the petition urged Ankara to halt “its deliberate massacres and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region,” angering President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reported.

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