"Recep Tayyip Erdogan is afraid: afraid of criticism, of losing power, of the truth. Therefore, the Turkish president relentlessly pursues anyone who dares question his policies or even his personal qualities," the magazine remarks.
According to Stern, Erdogan treated the academics' petition as a personal insult, and decided to put them on trial to show 'who’s in charge.' The Turkish president accused them of treason and aiding terrorists, even though his real motives – the fear that this petition might prompt other 'malcontents' to stand up against his policies – were pretty transparent, the author of the article argues.
In January, 1,128 Turkish and international scientists signed the Academics for Peace petition calling for cessation of military operation in the southeast of Turkey. Turkish authorities responded swiftly through opening cases against about 507 of the signatories, putting some of the most prominent of them on trial.