Prominent human rights group Amnesty International (AI) has launched a signature campaign calling for the release of four academics who are currently in pre-trial detention in Turkey for signing a peace declaration.
Turkish authorities have charged four academics, who signed a peace petition on terrorism charges. Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı are currently in jail and face lengthy prison terms if convicted.
“The academics’ petition and statements are protected under the right to freedom of expression. They should be released and charges dropped!,” AI has said.
The four academics are amongst over 2,000 signatories to a petition criticizing ongoing curfews and security operations in southeastern Turkey and calling on the “government to prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement.”
Prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the signatories accusing them of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Many academics have been fired from their posts at some universities while many of them are facing legal proceedings for the signing the declaration.
A settlement process launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in late 2012 to end Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem collapsed following a two-year-cease-fire last July, triggering the worst violence in Turkey’s southeast since 1990s. Hundreds of civilians, security forces’ members as well as PKK terrorists have been killed in the region in the renewed conflict over the past months.