The Trials of Academics for Peace in Turkey: Information Note and Call for Solidarity

Yazar / Referans: 

In a petition made public in January 2016, 2212 academics and researchers from Turkey, supported by several hundred international academics—called on the Turkish government to abide by the domestic and international law and to return to the peace process that had been interrupted in July 2015. After the petition was made public, the signatories were specifically targeted by President Erdoğan and subsequently attacked, threatened and became subject to administrative and criminal investigations. Some were arrested and kept in prison. 386 signatories have been listed in the state of emergency decrees as persons affiliated to terrorist organisations and dismissed from their positions, banned from public service for life and had their passports cancelled.

First criminal proceedings against those signed the petition initiated against four signatories who read a second press statement of Academics for Peace on March 10, 2016. This statement condemned the persecution of signatory academics and affirmed signatories’ commitment to the wording of the petition of January 2016. Subsequently, three of these four signatories were arrested and kept on remand for 40 days. Since March 2016, the criminal proceedings against them are still pending.

In October 2017, other signatories of the petition started to receive subpoenas, summoning them to the court with an accusation of carrying out terrorist propaganda. As of May 2018, more than 260 signatories are individually indicted before the Assize Courts with an indictment identical in content. The charges in the indictments are not substantiated by factual evidences, the allegations are inconsistent and distort the facts of the petition.

Until today 13 academics have their judgments delivered, the courts of first instances found the academics guilty for “carrying out terrorist propaganda” and sentenced them to 15 months of imprisonment. 12 of these academics have accepted to resort to the mechanism of the deferment of the announcement of the verdict where the perpetrator does not become punished under certain conditions, but the qualification of the crime becomes officialised. For one signatory that has refused the application of this mechanism, the Court had rejected the suspension of the punishment upon the grounds that she had not exhibited any expression of remorse. This academic has applied to the Court for Appeal and she faces the risk of imprisonment. The first case before the Court of Appeal will probably create a strong judicial precedent that will be highly persuasive while the decisions are made in the future cases against the other signatories.

We ask your support for our colleagues in Turkey.

- You can write down analyses on the cases or the overall situation, publish them on a blog of your choice, on media or submit it to be published in the blog of Academics for Peace-Germany. Please let us know if you were to write an analysis we can provide you the English translation of the Bill of Indictment, the text of the Verdict as well as other documentation needed.

- You can assist the hearings as observers.

- You can circulate our call for solidarity

These actions for solidarity will certainly not suffice to change the course of these politically motivated trials, but certainly influence the way the hearings are held, strengthen the legal struggle of the Academics for Peace under judicial harassment.

The text of the petition in English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Greek is available at

For more information about the judicial proceedings against Academics for Peace, including the reports and comments of the international observers, please check our blog:

For a detailed flow of the hearing processes, please check:

Academics for Peace – Germany

Legal Working Group