Academics for Peace Germany (AfP-Germany) is a non-profit association that was founded in Germany in October 2017 by the academics who signed the now well-known ‘Peace Petition’ in Turkey in January 2016, as well as their colleagues who supported the values of academic freedom and freedom of speech. AfP-Germany organizes solidarity campaigns with peace academics, raises awareness about colleagues who have been threatened, targeted, lost their job, and banned from working in the public sector. Our aim is to function as an international “hub” for human rights organizations, NGOs, academics, as well as international press seeking information on the repression against the Academics for Peace in Turkey.
Who are the Academics for Peace?
In January 2016, 1128 academics signed the Peace Petition, titled ‘We Will Not Be a Party to This Crime’ in order to draw the public’s attention to the brutal acts of violence perpetrated by the state in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. As a reaction to the heavy smear campaign which was immediately triggered by Turkey’s President Erdogan’s offensive remarks towards the signatories, the number of the signatories rose to over 2212.
Immediately after the release of the petition, many signatories were dismissed from their posts, prosecuted and their citizenship rights, such as traveling were revoked. After the failed coup attempt in July 2016, the suppression on the signatory academics got fiercer; hundreds more academics were dismissed with statutory decrees, their passports were confiscated, they were banned from public sector employment, and criminal investigations were launched. Many of those academics have had to leave the country and are now facing extreme difficulties in resettling in a new place and continuing on with their professions. Violations of academic freedom and freedom of speech in Turkey have reached a dire situation. The court hearings of the peace academics started on December 5, 2017. Accused of making “propaganda for a terrorist organization” the signatory academics faced sentences of up to 7.5 years of imprisonment.
On the other hand, very many other academics, professionals, and organizations worldwide have voiced their support for the persecuted academics. A large number of academics including Nobel Prize laureates and members of major science academies around the world initiated support campaigns, many scientific organizations, such as ECPR, APA, MESA, L’ANCMSP have released numerous letters and statements to show their solidarity with their colleagues who signed the Peace Petition.
The friends we lost
Unfortunately, during these past two years of unlawful and unjust treatment, we lost several friends and colleagues. Dr. Mehmet Fatih Traş, Assoc. Prof. Nuray Ergüneş, and Prof. Dr. Eren Deniz Tol. They will never been forgotten.