02:46 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out on Friday at a group of dissident academics for signing a statement criticizing the government's actions against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), calling the scholars "cruel" and "despicable."

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — At least 12 academics were detained earlier in the day over alleged terrorist propaganda after they had signed a declaration condemning Erdogan’s military campaign against Kurdish rebels in southeast and calling for resumption of peace talks.

    "They are cruel, they are despicable because those who are together with the cruel are themselves cruel. People who are [in solidarity] with those who commit massacres are guilty of the same crime," Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul's Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

    He also condemned the move as signaling their support for the PKK’s attacks.

    "The fact that they have a professor, associate professor or whatever title in front of their names do not make them enlightened. They are deeply dark people," Erdogan said, as quoted by Today’s Zaman.

    The declaration urging the Turkish authorities to stop massacre in Kurdish-dominated provinces was signed by a total of 1,128 academics from Turkey and around the world, including Noam Chomsky, a US linguist and philosopher, whom Erdogan earlier accused of sympathizing with terrorists.


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    Turkey Detains 12 Academics Over Calls to Stop Violence Against Kurds
    academic, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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