A day later, Erdogan accused those who signed the documents of being "dark and ignorant." The Turkish president also invited foreign scholars to Turkey, so that they could see the operation with their own eyes. He specified that Chomsky could be "hosted" in the Kurdish regions.
The philosopher turned down the offer, saying in an e-mail to the Guardian that he would come to Turkey "at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds who have been under severe attack for many years," not Erdogan.
Chomsky signs peace petition. Erdogan scolds Chomsky, invites him to Turkey to "come & see himself" Chomsky replies: pic.twitter.com/0H5J0Nbh01— Gilgo (@agirecudi) 14 января 2016
Chomsky also stated that Erdogan "has been aiding" Daesh and supporting al-Nusra Front. "He then launched a tirade against those who condemn his crimes against Kurds – who happen to be the main ground force opposing [Daesh] in both Syria and Iraq. Is there any need for further comment?"
Turkish authorities remain defiant. On Thursday, Davutoglu said that he "felt so sorry and ashamed" for the scholars, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. "Do you embrace the acts of this terrorist group that killed a five-month-old baby?" he asked, echoing earlier claims that the academics have sided with terrorists.
Istanbul prosecutor investigates 1128 peace call academics for 'terrorism propaganda' & 'insulting Turkish nation' https://t.co/dtr71VLhP7— Emma Sinclair-Webb (@esinclairwebb) 14 января 2016
On the same day, Turkish prosecutors launched a probe into Turkish academics, who signed the letter, on the charges of "terrorist propaganda," as well as inciting violence, breaking the law and insulting the state. Many have branded the investigation a witch hunt and a harassment campaign.
Turkey put academics in jail for terrorism allegations. They signed to stop violence before. Freedom of speech.— Neo (@iNeoNeo) 15 января 2016
On Friday, law enforcement officers detained twelve people. They face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Another wave of Turkish witchhunt: Police began detaining academics who signed a petition condemning the government’s war on PKK. Insane.— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) 15 января 2016
Ankara has continued its crackdown on Kurdish militants after the months-long ceasefire between the authorities and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was shattered in mid-2015. Many describe the situation in Turkey's south-east as a civil war.