Academics for Peace Granted 2018 Courage to Think Defender Award

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2018 Courage to Think Defender Award has been granted to Academics for Peace due to their extraordinary efforts to form solidarity at universities and encourage academic freedom, freedom of questioning and peaceful exchange of ideas.

Scholars at Risk has given 2018 Courage to Think Defender Award to Academics for Peace.

The reason for giving the award to Academics for Peace has been explained as forming academic solidarity and encouraging academic freedom, freedom of questioning and peaceful exchange of ideas.

Two academics received the award

On behalf of Academics for Peace Muzaffer Kaya from Berlin Technical University and Tebessüm Yılmaz from Humboldt University received the award, which was given at Network of Academics at Risk 2018 Global Congress held in Berlin, Germany on April 25.

The Scholars at Risk is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect threatened scholars, promote academic freedom and prevent attacks on higher education communities around the world since 2000. Lastly, the award was given to over 600 wrongfully imprisoned students and academics in Egypt.

Award in Berlin, lawsuits in İstanbul

Academics for Peace have been facing lawsuits in Turkey.

The declaration entitled “We will not be a party to this crime” was released with 1,128 academics’ signatures on January 10, 2016, denouncing the government's war policies in Turkey's southeastern region, which is predominantly Kurdish. The number of signatures increased to 2,212 with the following participants.

Lawsuits on charge of “propagandizing for an illegal organization” have been filed against the academics.

As of April 26, 200 academics had their first hearings. 13 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for that of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University.