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    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses after he received an honorary doctorate from Qatar University in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015

    Facing Repression, Turkish Academics Circulate New Anti-Erdogan Petition

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    Last week, the Erdogan government cracked down on the Turkish academic community after over 1,400 academics from 89 universities signed a petition urging the government to "stop the massacre and deportation" of Kurds in the south of the country. Now, academics have prepared a new, harder edged petition, consisting of four points.

    Last week, Turkish authorities detained 18 academics opposed to the government's treatment of the Kurdish minority, accusing the teachers of 'terrorist propaganda', in a move which human rights groups and academics from around the world quickly condemned.

    ​Now, the repressed academics have prepared a new, more forceful petition, Sputnik Turkey reports.

    Professor Baskin Oran, one of the academics who signed both petitions, filled Sputnik in on the contents of the new appeal, and commented on the desperate situation which has unfolded in the country.

    The new petition, which has four points, reads as follows:

    "1. The Erdogan regime, using the pretext of unrest in the country which they themselves created (i.e., a situation reminiscent of the coup of September 12, 1980), will not be able to apply dictatorial pressure on Turkish academics and the Turkish people who a point of view which is different from the official ideology."

    "2. The situation associated with the construction of trenches and barricades in southeast Turkey did not come about as a result of today's conflict. It is the result of the promises which were given to the Kurds, beginning in 1919, and which have not been fulfilled, resulting in frustration caused by the winding down of negotiations on the settlement of the Kurdish question, and the suffocating repression against the Kurdish population."

    "3. Erdogan's regime, hiding behind various pretexts, will not be able to kill the Kurdish people, will not be able to harass and humiliate the residents of the southeastern provinces of the country, and will not be able to turn their cities into ruins."

    "4. The Kurdistan Workers' Party [a militant organization officially banned in Turkey], in the fight against the state's policy aimed at the destruction of the Kurdish population, must not harm civilians, using the methods of blind, merciless terror, which enables the Turkish authorities to further increase pressure on the civilian population."

    The current situation, Professor Oran suggested, is reminiscent of the period which followed the military coup of September 12, 1980. "At that time [too], our patience had come to an end, and the academic community issued an appeal to the authorities. But even in that period's darkest moments, the government did not openly apply the level of repression [against academics] which it is today. At the same time, Erdogan has brought the situation to a point where we can no longer remain silent."

    Asked why the academics' appeal had caused such an apparent overreaction from the authorities, Oran suggested that it was part of President Erdogan's clumsy attempt to intimidate the Turkish people.

    "Was it rational or irrational to inflate the situation to such an extent? Of course it was irrational. But from Erdogan's view, this was reasonable cause [for a crackdown]. Erdogan is attempting to intimidate the Turkish people. At every possible opportunity, he attempts to sow chaos and to deepen the rift in Turkish society."

    "This time, he found a pretext in the petition of the academics. Dictatorial and authoritarian regimes from time immemorial have used similar rhetoric, similar words of accusation and insult, to achieve the desired effect. And these templates have been left unchanged."

    At the same time, Oran warns, "dictators are mistaken in their belief that people can be restrained forever, increasing the level of pressure and repression against them. At a certain point, when the degree of pressure exceeds that which the people are able to withstand, it will become impossible to hold back their protest and discontent. Erdogan will have to face the consequences of such a protest."

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    • Nice! Let mini erdo get angry! He will totally piss off the population.
    • marcanhalt
      You never, ever want to "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS" when it involves the academia. If you set this crowd up to fail, you will feel the apoclypse especially if you are only wearing an honorary degree that they gave you, which appears to be the case with Erdogan. These are the minds that can direct the students towards you or away from you. Usually, unlike Timothy Leary who left the speaker's lectern in favor of Albert Hofman, the father of LSD, they will leave a lasting and cogent impression that will carry on for generations to come. Like Leary (not to be confused with Dennis who always seems to be high on something), Erdogan is foregoing the classroom to get high on something else. Hashish maybe? As the saying goes, you do not mess with the best, because the best do not mess. For a lot of sane reasons, I am siding with the faculty on this one.
    • Mother Gorilla
      Erdogan is clearly facing dissent and having a civil war (mainly of the Turks own making) with the Kurds on its hands, so why do the US not use ISIL to destabilise him as they do with Assad in Syria? The mysteries of American consistency.
    • Mother Gorillain reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
    • michael
      tricky one this I think;
      1. academics as martyrs in a secular muslim country. Would the population support them?
      2. publically named academics can then be placed in prison or worse, the charges can be trumped up - it doesn't matter.
      3 I haven't read of any muslim cleric's stand on this situation. Surely they have the ear of the people?
      thoughts only :)
    • michaelin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
      Jet fuel can't melt steel beams, nice to think so, but he hasn't done so yet. I wonder what would make them react? :)
    • michaelin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, but does that worry erdogan who 'appears' to be living for today? If he has a strong army he can handle students in the future. Although I am happy to accept that in many cases that actions like that would lead to civil war. :(
    • marcanhaltin reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
      Mother Gorilla, Have you read his "200 Years Together"? He and Ayn Rand are two of my favorites.
    • michaelin reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
      Mother Gorilla, only where the people are literate. :)
    • marcanhaltin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, Turkey is 'turn around' government format. Look where they have been since 1919. Erdogan wants a statue, but those glory days are over and are no more.
    • michaelin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, agreed, as with various contributors writing of how he wants to recreate the ottoman empire. On reflection though, maybe it the U.S. that should be taught that, along with the E.U. allies. That's what it seems like they were doing with belgium - set it up as a shrine. :)
    • ozcanerdonmezin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael,

      Sadly, throughout history, Muslim clerics have always always supported the corrupt and oppressive rulers and governments no matter what they did to people, the same is happening today in Turkey and beyond.
    • marcanhaltin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, Solomon said it best: "It is better to die with a good name than to be have been born in the first place with all of the uncertainties of life in front of you." I doubt that Erdogan would agree with the premise.
    • michaelin reply toozcanerdonmez(Show commentHide comment)
      ozcanerdonmez, that is sad given from my understanding that clerics of any faith are there for the people - supposedly. :(
    • michaelin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, and that is one of the things missing from the world - the values that many of us saw years ago, things like respect, listening to others, acceptance rather than tolerance, and the one thing that is very difficult to take away from an adult, (genuine) pride not egotistical. :) It seems that we are seeing a resurgence of that in the E.U. at the moment with problems such as refugees and so on.
    • Mother Gorillain reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, they got literature, from old sufist poetry to modern novels and they have been working onimproving their, admittedly bad school system. I have talked to Turks about it. Granted, with all the war they are waging it does not look like their top priority under Erdigan and clique!
    • michaelin reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
      Mother Gorilla, agreed. I was more making my comment as a response to you using Solzhenitsyn. There are many I have spoken with who are of the opinion that he is not as good as his publishers may claim. Just my sense of humour.:) But what you state about the the problems of the school system, along with other comments today elsewhere stating that Turkey's engineers are not up to scratch either, does not bode well. When there is a change in regimes in Turkey, it is hoped that education again becomes a priority for that secular nation. :) Thanks for the reply.
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