Academics for Peace: We Reject Your Rejection

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

On the 6th anniversary of their declaration “We will not be a party to this crime”, Academics for Peace have addressed the State of Emergency Commission, which rejects their requests for reinstatement: “We reject your rejection.”

It has been six years since the Academics for Peace released the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime."

Holding a press conference on this occasion today (January 11), the Academics for Peace said, "We continue defending peace and academic freedoms. Statutory decrees will go, we will come back."

The press conference was held at the office of the İstanbul No. 6 Branch of the Education and Science Laborers Union (Eğitim-Sen).

In their statement for the press, the academics referred to "the State of Emergency Commission, which rejects their requests for reinstatement in violation of the Constitution, years after decisions of discharge were given for them by Statutory Decrees in an unlawful manner."

Their statement read, "We reject the decisions of rejection given by the State of Emergency Commission by committing a constitutional crime. We would like to once again declare to the public that we keep on struggling to take back our usurped rights, to produce knowledge in favor of society, nature and peace and to establish autonomous-democratic university."

The statement of the Peace Academics recalled that "like over 130 thousand citizens who were discharged by Statutory Decrees, the Academics for Peace were also forced to apply to the State of Emergency Commission, a fabrication of the State of Emergency, for reinstatement."

Noting that "they knew that it was not a way of the law," they said, "On the very contrary, since October 28, 2021, the Commission, which had prevented us from accessing the law for years, has notified us that it has given decisions of rejection for almost all applications."

The Academics for Peace stressed that "with the decisions of rejection it has given, the State of Emergency Commission has disregarded the ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court and declared that it does not recognize the Constitution." Defining this situation as a "serious legal scandal," the Academics announced that they, with their lawyers, would file a criminal complaint against the State of Emergency Commission after reading out the related statement for the press.

"The decision of rejection given by the State of Emergency Commission shows that the government is insistent on violations of rights against peace academics," said the Academics for Peace, adding that "these decisions of rejection, which are unfair and unlawful from the top to the bottom, have once again demonstrated the vital importance of democratic solidarity in the face of 'civilian death' attempted to be imposed on academics by the political power holders and of struggling and defending academic freedoms in the face of the destruction of university autonomy."

About the Trials of Academics

On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled "We will not be party to this crime" on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative.

With the participation of further academics, the number of academics who have signed the declaration has reached 2,212.

With the indictment issued by the Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt, lawsuits were filed against the academics on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.

As of October 30, 2019, 806 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017, all the 204 academics whose cases were concluded were sentenced to prison. 146 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison; 8 academics to 1 year and 6 months in prison; 18 academics to 1 year, 10 months and 15 days in prison; 17 academics to 2 years and 3 months in prison; 7 academics to 2 years and 6 months in prison; 5 academics to 2 years and 1 month in prison; and one academic to 3 years in prison.

Non-deferred prison sentences for 36 people

Of these 204 people, the verdicts of conviction of 36 academics in total were not deferred; while the verdicts of 29 people were not deferred as their prison terms are over 2 years (as per the Article 286 of the Law on Criminal Courts), the verdicts of 7 academics were not deferred as they did not accept the deferment of the announcement of their verdicts.

With her 15-month prison sentence upheld by the court of appeal, Academic for Peace Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel was arrested on May 8, 2019 to be released on July 22.

Constitutional Court said "violation of right"

The General Assembly of the Constitutional Court examined the individual applications of 10 Academics for Peace sentenced to prison on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the peace declaration.

On July 26, 2019, the Court ruled that the penalization of Academics for Peace on charge of "terror propaganda" has violated their freedom of expression.

The Court decided that a copy of this judgement shall be sent to all local courts in order to eliminate this right's violation and advised for retrial. The court also ruled to pay each applicant 9 thousand TRY in reparations.


After the new judicial year opened on September 2, the first verdict of acquittal for an Academic for Peace in accordance with the Constitutional Court ruling was given by the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court on September 6. 

Constitutional Court ruling and its consequences

The ruling of the Constitutional Court stipulated that the local courts should hold re-trials and give verdicts of acquittal in ongoing cases and for finalized sentences and the courts of appeal should reverse the judgements in question. The State of Emergency Commission should also take the Constitutional Court ruling into account. 

Accordingly, the third year of the Academics for Peace at courthouses began with this Constitutional Court ruling. Courts began giving rulings of acquittal. Academics were acquitted in court cases in not only İstanbul but in other provinces as well.

Authorized to examine and rule on the sanctions imposed as part of the State of Emergency such as discharges from public service as per Statutory Decrees, the State of Emergency Commission began finalizing Peace Academics' applications nearly a year later. The applications of several discharged academics who applied to the Commission for reinstatement have so far been rejected.