Cem Yılmaz, one of Turkey’s most celebrated comedians, reacted adversely to an ongoing purge in the country that most recently dismissed 330 academics from universities, calling the dismissals unjust.
Posting several messages on Twitter on Wednesday, Yılmaz said he was sad about the expulsion of the distinguished academics from their universities. He also apparently responded to pro-government trolls who targeted him after posting his messages and said trolls cannot teach him patriotism.
According to the new decree issued on Tuesday night, 4,464 people working in government service, including teachers, academics, police officers, soldiers, members of the judiciary and journalists, were purged from their jobs.
One hundred fifteen out of 330 academics who were dismissed from their jobs by a government decree issued on Tuesday are signatories of a peace declaration criticizing curfews declared in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern districts in 2015.
According to the Diken news portal, the new decree, numbered 686, purged a total of 4,464 civil servants from state bodies, among them 115 academics who signed the declaration along with over 1,100 other academics from 90 universities across Turkey on Jan. 11 of last year.
The peace declaration called on the government to halt the operations by security forces in southeastern Turkey, restore peace to the nation and return to the negotiating table to restart shelved talks with the Kurds to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.
Diken reported that the new decree dismissed 34 academics from Ankara University, 22 from Marmara University, 22 from Marmara University, 15 from Yıldız Technical University, 15 from Yıldız Teknik University, 18 from Anadolu University, two each from Adnan Menderes University, Çukurova University, Doğuş University, Giresin University, Bilim University and Uludağ University and one each from Atatürk University, Balıkesir University, Bartın University, Beykent University, Bingöl University, Dumlupınar University, Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Iğdır University, Ayvansaray University, Yeni Yüzyıl University, Kırıkkale University, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University and Trakya University.
The declaration frustrated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading to retribution against the academics. Some of the insults Erdoğan used against them included “so-called intellectuals,” “a flock called intellectuals,” “traitors” and “rough copies of intellectuals.”
Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained after police raided their homes and offices across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan. 11, 2016.