A lawyer representing academics who signed a peace declaration, which calls for an end to violence in Turkey’s southeast and criticizes the Turkish government’s policies, has claimed that the Higher Education Board (YÖK) forces those who removed their signatures from the petition to sign a “repentance petition” to be able to keep their jobs at universities.
The declaration issued by Academics for Peace and titled “We will not be a party to this crime” was announced on Jan. 11, 2016 with 1,128 signatures, calling on the state of Turkey to end violence in southeast and prepare conditions of negotiations. According to a statement on the initiative’s website, a number of more academics in Turkey and from abroad signed the petition.
Lawyer reportedly claimed that academics who removed their signatures from the petition are told that they will not be dismissed from the university if they sign the repentance petition, but will only receive a warning.
It is reported that an academic in Antalya University signed the repentance petition, which is regarded as a sign of “slavery” by academic Taha Karaman from Akdeniz University. “It is impossible to think that someone in his senses would sign this petition,” Karaman said.
Politicians, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, heavily criticized those who had originally signed the petition. After Erdoğan had targeted the signatories and called them “colonialists” and “traitors,” prosecutors launched investigations against many of them. Some academic institutions even fired some of the signatories at the bequest of the YÖK.