Statement of Academic Abbas Vali

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

"Violence scars more than just the social fabric of our communities, more than tissues of our flesh, it scars our human souls, it dehumanizes us."

We are sharing the statement of Prof. Dr. Abbas Vali from Boğaziçi University, who has been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the declaration entitled "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace and had his fourth hearing at the İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court.

I am on trial for signing a letter condemning violence and calling for an end to violence, murder and destruction.

I signed this letter willingly, for aside from the call of conscience, it was also in accord with my long standing principles as an academic and a free thinker committed to peace and the rights of human beings to live and flourish in peace anywhere in the world.

I abhor violence as a means to resolve differences, disagreements and conflicts, especially political conflicts.

It is my long held belief that violence can only suppress difference, disagreement and opposition, it cannot remedy or eradicate their root causes.

Peace built on violence and suppression cannot be a lasting peace. It cannot create a peaceful and tranquil social order. Order created by violence can only survive by more violence and more suppression, lasting only as long as violence is effective.

The cost, human and material, always outweighs the benefits, immediate or long term. Violence scars more than just the social fabric of our communities, more than tissues of our flesh, it scars our human souls, it dehumanizes us.

It should be renounced and renouncing violence is a conscious quest for peace.

Violence, I strongly believe, undermines the very ethos of law which is the attainment of justice. I believe no justice can be attained by the use of violence.

Violence destroys the spirit of law and tarnishes the legitimacy of institutions and creeds which justify their conduct by appealing to law. That is why, I do not believe in the distinction between juridical violence/killing and extra-juridical violence/killing.

The fundamental ethical belief which I hold and defend leaves no room for any notion of legitimate violence.

My commitment to this belief is witnessed by my academic research, writing and publications, some of which have been translated into Turkish, but above all by my numerous interviews with Turkish press where I have always argued against the use of violence to resolve political conflict and stood for dialogue and negotiation to achieve a lasting peace.

My decision to sign the letter was an act of conscience, and my conscience is guided by this ethical belief. My signature signifies a conscious rejection of violence and a quest for peace.

But today stand in this court of law accused of supporting and advocating violence. This charge goes against everything I have said, written and done in the course of the past ten years that have lived and worked in this country.

This charge should be dropped, the case against me should be quashed and I should be acquitted henceforth. if law is to serve justice and embrace its spirit which is justice. I ask the court for acquittal in the name of peace, justice, and human dignity.