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Kılıçdaroğlu vows to reinstate ‘Peace Academics’ if elected

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Leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has promised to reinstate all academics who were fired from their jobs for signing a peace declaration in 2016 if he is elected to the top state post, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing Kronos news website.

“We are approaching a time when the president can be criticized without fear, when all decisions will be made through consultation, when the ‘Peace Academics’ will be returned to their jobs,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during a speech in parliament on Sunday.

A total of 1,128 academics who referred to themselves as the “Peace Academics” signed a declaration in early 2016 calling on the government to halt operations by security forces in southeastern Turkey, restore peace to the nation and return to the negotiating table to restart shelved talks to find a peaceful solution to the so-called Kurdish issue.

The move attracted widespread criticism from the government. Many of the signatories were fired, sentenced to prison or were subjected to overseas travel bans.

After the initial signatories were targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, more academics signed it in solidarity, with the total number exceeding 2,000.

In July 2019 Turkey’s Constitutional Court said the rights of the Peace Academics had been violated. The decision was made possible 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 had appealed.

In March an administrative court in Ankara ruled for the reinstatement of five peace academics in two separate decisions.

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