Solidarity with Turkish and Kurdish academics!

The Academics for Peace petition being read out at a press conference in Istanbul on January 11, 2016.

In January last year, many thousands of academics around the world signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime”, which called for peace in Turkey.

The statement was issued in solidarity with courageous academics in Turkey who had formed the Academics for Peace group and were working for an end to state terror in Turkish Kurdistan. The group pushed for the resumption of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Since then, members of Academics for Peace have been subjected to horrendous persecution by the Turkish authorities. Many have been dismissed from their posts, and even detained or jailed.

As of March, at least 383 out of the initial 2212 signatories have been purged from their jobs, banned from travelling abroad, and denied recourse to legal avenues of appeal. Many are destitute and cannot support their families.

They desperately need financial and other support. As a result, the Research Institute on Turkey and Bostonbul and concerned academics in North America have launched a campaign to raise an initial fund of US$105,000 to support about 35 academics for six months with a salary over the government-determined minimum wage.

The funds will be fully allocated to financially support the Academics for Peace through close collaboration with the Education and Science Workers’ Union, Egitim-Sen, and other associations actively assisting the purged academics at the local and international level.
Ekin Kurdic, who is a PhD student at Harvard University, makes the following suggestions for help:

Ekin adds, “I very much hope you will join me in this solidarity campaign. With your participation, we will illustrate once again that the #AcademicsForPeace are not alone. Thank you for your time and assistance.”

[John Tully is an honorary professor at Victoria University in Melbourne and can be contacted at]

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