Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Friday said the rights of academics who were dismissed or prosecuted for signing a “peace petition” were violated. The decision was made by Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan’s tie-breaking vote. The top court also ordered the government to pay TL 9,000 in damages to each of the nine academics who appealed.
Many of the 1,128 Turkish academics who signed the petition calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of the country in 2016 have been dismissed from their positions, sentenced to prison or face an overseas travel ban.
After the academics were targeted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for having signed the petition, more academics decided to sign it in an act of solidarity.
Meanwhile, three universities in Turkey have launched a petition campaign against a Constitutional Court ruling. İbrahim Çeçen University in Ağrı and the Aydın and Medeniyet universities in İstanbul released a declaration titled “The Constitutional Court cannot legitimize terrorism,” condemning the top court’s decision.
“The Constitutional Court has made a scandalous decision,” the declaration said. “This ruling has offended the memory of our martyrs and veterans as well as damaged the public conscience.”
“Nowhere in the world can blaming the state for fighting against terrorism be viewed as free speech. … It is particularly noteworthy that this decision should be made at a time when effective operations are being conducted against terrorist groups.”
In addition to universities, pro-government media also criticized the Constitutional Court’s ruling in favor of academics, who were targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in several occasions. (turkishminute.com)