14:56 GMT +323 January 2020
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    The European Union said on Saturday it was worried concerning the detention of academics who criticized the Turkish government over conducting anti-Kurdish military operations in the country’s southeast.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Up to 27 of the "Academicians for Peace" have been reported detained this week for signing a petition against Ankara’s anti-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) campaign on charges of terrorist propaganda.

    "The steps taken against the Turkish academics who signed a declaration regarding events in the Southeast of Turkey are an extremely worrying development," the EU said in a statement.

    Some 1,300 Turkish and international intellectuals are signatories to the petition titled "We will not be a partner to this crime," referring to ongoing security operations in southeastern Turkey. Over 1,100 of them, all Turkish nationals, are under investigation for signing the petition.

    US Ambassador to Ankara John Bass expressed concern over the developments on Friday, saying the probes risk having a "chilling" effect on national political discourse.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who classified the scholars "cruel" and "despicable," has estimated 3,100 militants were killed by security forces since the anti-PKK campaign began late last summer.

    The EU has reached a deal with Turkey in November promising $3 billion in exchange for Ankara taking steps to curb the vast arrival of refugees into the bloc through the country.


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    academic, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), European Union, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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