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Erdoğan suggests stripping ‘terrorism supporters’ of Turkish citizenship

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suggested that his country should consider stripping supporters of terrorist organizations of Turkish citizenship to step up measures against terrorism.

“We should take every measure, including stripping supporters of terrorism from citizenship. We have no other land to go,” Erdoğan said on Tuesday while addressing a group of lawyers on the occasion of Lawyers’ Day at the presidential palace.

During his speech, Erdoğan also implicitly targeted Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who recently voiced criticism of pre-trial detention of some academics over a statement they signed to condemn violence in the Southeast.

“Some are saying that academics should stand trial without arrest. What do you mean? If he is guilty he will of course stand trial under arrest,” Erdoğan said.

Davutoğlu said last week that he is opposed to the arrest of academicians as reaction mounted among the public against the arrest of three academicians for singing a declaration criticizing curfews declared in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern districts.

Speaking to reporters on his trip to Jordan, Davutoğlu said, “If there are no legal obligations, I am against people being jailed pending trial, on principle. If there is acquittal at the end of the ordeal, then that person’s restriction of freedom is not something that can be paid back.”

“They [the state] can give a person the highest penalty, but shouldn’t take away the freedom to talk and walk” he said. “As an academician who suffered oppression during the 28 Feb [coup era] I say, ‘I cannot accept any restriction on type of thought. That academician from Boğaziçi University [Esra Mungan] was someone who also opposed the headscarf ban in the past. I have no negative views about her, on the contrary I have heard of her libertarian stance.”

Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya and Kıvanç Ersoy were recently detained for signing a declaration titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” criticizing curfews declared in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern districts.

Over 1,100 academics from 90 universities signed the declaration on January 11, wherein they called on the government to halt the on-going operations in south-eastern Turkey, restore national peace and return to the negotiating table to restart the shelved talks with Kurds to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.

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