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Statement from Academics in Turkey on the Peace and Solution Process

[Image via Wikipedia Commons.] [Image via Wikipedia Commons.]

[This statement was released on 8 August 2015.]

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Declaration to the Peoples of Turkey and the World,

Like many people in Turkey, we, as academics, were emboldened by the peace/solution process between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) officially initiated in January 2013, hoping for a new era that would end the conflicts continuing for over thirty years in Turkey. We have repeatedly stated, especially in our works on Turkey’s history, economy, and social relations, that the conflict has affected every aspect of Turkey, turned people into enemies, and increased inequality, discrimination, and violence. We have been of the opinion that Turkey was finally going to have a chance to face its truths, democratize, and heal its wounds.

We have supported every stage of the solution process between 2013 and 2015. We have stated that the creation of a Wise People’s Committee,[1] the Dolmabahçe Agreement[2], and the enactment of a new law by the Parliament regarding the solution process[3] were positive measures. However, the comparative studies we have undertaken on ongoing peace processes across the world have shown us that these are not sufficient measures and that the process needs to be supported with various monitoring committees and, as in the case of Mandela, the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan,[4] one of the leading actors of the process, should be lifted. We have noted that the process should not be exploited for the purposes of foreign or domestic policies. We have also stated that deep-seated hostility against the Kurds in Turkey could only end by establishing a Truth Commission and by revealing the tragedies of the past as well as those who are responsible for them.[5]

At the current state of affairs, we regret to see that that the government did not make any arrangements to guarantee the stability of the peace process, and that there are no independent civil institutions to advise and evaluate the sides so that the public can be informed and transparency can be maintained. As of today, it is unfortunate for us to witness that the process is reduced to a tool regarding inter-party competition. The policies concerning Syria, Iraq, and Iran have also created an environment where the war has resumed.

It is also unfortunate that despite the warnings of academics, NGOs, responsible politicians, and reporters, no steps were taken to prevent the contagious civil war in the Middle East from affecting Turkey. On the contrary, Turkey is being rapidly dragged to war.

Dozens of peace processes across the world have shown us that the losses are much higher when people take up arms again and that the solution comes only if new democratic spheres are opened. In the last year, we have lost our students in Kobani and Suruç. Only in this past week, we have lost many other young people to the resumed conflict between the state and the PKK.

It should be well known that we will never sacrifice our children, our students, or any of our youngsters for war. For us, not a single disagreement is more important than their lives and the future they will build.

We invite all parties to a consolidated ceasefire immediately. We ask the government to abandon the language that cause discrimination, hostility, and conflict; the responsible reporters to disclose their colleagues that provoke the war; and the parliament to pass laws that will guarantee the continuation of the peace process immediately.

The truth does not develop under conditions of war, and today Turkey needs the truth before anything else.

We are declaring to the public: There is only one lesson that young people can derive from our writings, statements, and lectures, and it is that their lives matter and the country will not survive unless they are alive. The core message of the work we do will be that war budgets are compensated by our taxes and that it is the poor who lose their lives in a war. Our philosophy as academics is that nobody has the right to oppress and insult others. Nobody can prevent others from exercising their right to free speech. Our work is concerned with teaching young people to protect themselves from the poisonous feeling of revenge, continue to seek their rights, defend truth against lies, and never be discouraged from democratic discourses and actions.

We, as 232 academics who have undersigned this statement, invite all academics, teachers, producers and consumers of knowledge, women and men to raise their voices and be a part of democracy and truth.

Signatures

Abdullah Sessiz, Prof, Dicle University

Ahmet Altınel, Assist Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Ahmet Hilal, Prof, Çukurova University

Ahmet Özdemir Aktan, Prof, Marmara University

Ahmet Uhri, Assist Prof, Dokuz Eylül University

Ali Akay, Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Ali İhsan Ökten, Assoc Prof, Adana

Ali Kerem Saysel, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Alper Açık, Dr, Özyeğin University

Aslı Aydemir, Instructor, İstanbul University

Aslı Davas, Assoc Prof Ege University

Aslı Odman, Instructor, Mimar Sinan University

Aslı Takanay, ABD, Boğaziçi University

Atilla Güney, Prof, Mersin University

Aydın Müftüoğlu, Assist Prof, Ege University

Ayfer Bartu Candan, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Ayla Zırh Gürsoy, Prof, Marmara University

Ayşe Berkman, Prof, Marmara University

Ayşe Durakbaşa, Prof, Marmara University

Ayşe Erzan, Prof, İstanbul Teknik University

Ayşe Gözen, Prof, Ondokuz Mayıs University

Ayşe Öncü, Emeritus, Sabancı University

Ayşegül Kanbak, Assist Prof, Batman University

Ayşen Candaş, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Ayşen Uysal, Prof, Dokuz Eylül University

Ayten Alkan, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Ayten Zara, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Bahar Oral, Res Assist, Çankaya University

Başak Can, Assist Prof, Koç University

Bediz Yılmaz, Assist Prof, Mersin University

Begüm Özden Fırat, Assist Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Berivan Gökçenay, Yıldız Teknik University

Betigül Öngen, Prof, İstanbul University

Biray Kolluoğlu, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Biriz Berksony, Dr, İstanbul University

Birol Caymaz, Assoc Prof, Galatasaray University

Buket Türkmen, Assoc Prof, Galatasaray University

Burak Üzümkesici, Res Assist, İstanbul University

Burcu Yakut-Çakar, Assoc Prof, Kocaeli University

Burhanettin Kaya, Assoc Prof, Gazi University

Bülent Bilmez, Assoc Prof, İstanbul Bilgi University

Bülent Duru, Assoc Prof, Ankara University

Bülent Küçük, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Can Candan, Dr, Boğaziçi University

Cem Özatalay, Assoc Prof, Galatasaray University

Cenap Özel, Prof, Dokuz Eylül University

Ceren Özselçuk, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Cesim Çelik, Assist Prof, Abant İzzet Baysal University

Ceyda Arslan, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Chris Stepehnson, Instructor, İstanbul Bilgi University

Cuma Çiçer, Assist Prof, Mardin Artuklu University

Çağın Tanrıverdi, Ar. Gör, Trakya University

Çağla Aykaç, Assist Prof, Fatih University

Çiler Çilingiroğlu, Assoc Prof, Ege University

Deniz Yonucu, Dr, LSE University

Derya Özkan, Dr, Münih University

Didem Danış, Assoc Prof, Galatasaray University

Dilek Hattatoğlu, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Düzgün Çakırca, Assist Prof, Batman University

Elçin Aktoprak, Assist Prof, Ankara University

Ebru Aykut, Assist Prof. Dr, Mimar Sinan University

Elif Babül, Assist Prof, Mount Holyoke University

Elif Göcek, Assist Prof, İstanbul Bilgi University

Emine Meşe, Prof, Dicle University

Emrah Dönmez, Instructor, Işık University

Engin Sustam, Assist Prof, Arel University

Erdem Yörük, Assist Prof, Koç University

Ergin Bulut, Assist Prof, Koç University

Erhan Keleşoğlu, Assist Prof, İstanbul University

Ertan Yılmaz, Prof, Akdeniz University

Erol Köroğlu, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Esra Mungan, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Fatih Altuğ, Assist Prof, İstanbul Şehir University

Fatma Gök, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Ferhat Kentel, Prof, İstanbul Şehir University

Feride Aksu Tanık, Prof, Ege University

Ferruh Akay, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Feryal Saygılıgil, Assist Prof, Arel Üniveristesi

Figen Binbay, Assist Prof, Dicle University

Figen Işık, Instructor, Orta Doğu Teknik University

Fikret Uyar, Dr, Dicle University

Funda Başaran, Prof, Ankara University

Funda Şenol Cantek, Prof, Ankara University

Galip Deniz Altınay, Mersin University

Gencay Gürsoy, Prof, İstanbul University

Gökçe Topal, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Güçlü Ateşoğlu, Assist Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Gülhan Balsoy, Assist Prof, Okan University

Gülhan Türkay, Prof, İstanbul University

Gülce Sorguç, Res Assist, Ege University

Gürcan Altan, Prof, Trakya University

Güven Gürkan Öztan, Assist Prof, İstanbul University

H. Pınar Şenoğuz, Assist Prof, Gaziantep University

Hacer Ansal, Prof, Işık University

Hafize Öztürk Türkmen, Assist Prof, Akdeniz University

Hakan Gurvit, Prof, İstanbul University

Haldun Sural, Prof, Orta Doğu Teknik University

Hale Bolak Prof, İstanbul Bilgi University

Hejan Epözdemir, Dr, İstanbul Bilgi University

Hilal Akekmekçi, Res. Assist, İstanbul Bilgi University

Hüseyin A. Şahin, Prof, Ondokuz Mayıs University

Ilgın Erdem, Instructor, CUNY John Jay University

Işıl Ünal, Prof, Ankara University

İclal Ayşe Küçükkırca, Assist Prof, Mardin Artukulu University

İhsan Bilgin, İstanbul Bilgi University

İlkay Özkürapli, Instructor, Arel University

İnan Ünal, Instructor, Tunceli University

İrfan Açıkgöz, Prof, Dicle University

Kemal Bakır, Prof, Gaziantep University

Kemal Özay, Assist Prof, Okan University

Kıvanç Ersoy, Assoc Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Koray Çalışkan, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Kuban Altınel, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Kumru Toktamış, Assoc Prof, Pratt Institute

Kuvvet Lordoğlu, Prof, Kocaeli University

Levent Köker, Prof

Lütfiye Bozdağ, Assist Prof, İstanbul Kemerburgaz University

Mehmet Fatih Uslu, Assist Prof, İstanbul Şehir University

Mehmet Karaaslan, Prof, Işık University

Mehmet Rauf Kesici, Assist Prof, Kocaeli University

Mehmet Türkay, Prof, Marmara University

Mehmet Zencir, Prof, Pamukkale University

Melek Göregenli, Prof, Ege University

Melissa Bilal, Dr, Columbia University

Meltem Ahıska, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Meltem Gürle, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Meral Camcı, Assist Prof, İstanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University

Meral Özbek, Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Mine Gencel Bek, Prof, Ankara University

Murat Birdal, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Murat Germen, Sabancı University

Murat Koyuncu, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Murat Öztürk, Assoc Prof, Kırklareli University

Murat Paker, Assist Prof, İstanbul Bilgi University

Mustafa Altıntaş, Prof, Gazi University

Mustafa Kalay, Prof, Mersin University

Mustafa Peköz, Dr.

Mustafa Polat, Dr, Yeditepe University

Mustafa Sercan, Prof, Abant İzzet Baysal University

N. Gamze Toksoy, Assist Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Nazan Maksudyan, Assoc Prof, İstanbul Kemerburgaz University

Nazan Üstündağ, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Nermin Biter, Dr, Ege University

Neslihan Önenli Mungan, Prof, Adana

Neşe Yıldıran, Dr, Işık University

Nil Mutluer, Nişantaşı University

Nora Şeni, Prof.

Nur Betül Çelik, Prof, Ankara University

Nurcan Özkaplan, Prof, Işık University

Nurettin Beltekin, Assist Prof, Mardin Artuklu University

Nuri Ersoy, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Nursel Şahin, Prof, Akdeniz University

Nükhet Sirman, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Onur Hamzaoğlu, Prof, Kocaeli University

Osman Şahin, Instructor, Koç University

Ozan Değer, Res Assist, Ankara University

Öget Öktem Tanör, Prof, retired

Özen Aşut, Assoc Prof, retired

Özgün Akduran, Assist Prof, İstanbul University

Özgür Müftüoğlu, Marmara University

Özgür Mutlu Ulus Karadağ, Assist Prof, Acıbadem University

Özgür Soysal, Assist Prof, Ege University

Özlem Özkan, Assoc Prof, Kocaeli University

Pınar Kılıçer, Res Assist, Leiden University

Pınar Saip, Prof, İstanbul University

Ramazan Aşcı, Prof, Samsun

Raşit Tükel, Prof, İstanbul University

Rehber Akdoğan, Res. Assist, Dicle University

Rıdvan Şeşen, Prof, Dicle University

Ruken Alp, Dr, Sabancı University

Sami Cankat Tanrıverdi, Res Assist, İstanbul University

Sarp Balcı, Instructor, Ankara University

Savaş Çoban, Dr.

Seçkin Özsoy, Assoc Prof, Ankara University

Seda Altuğ, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Sefa Feza Arslan, Prof, Mimar Sinan University

Selçuk Ertekin Prof, Dicle University

Selim Temo, Assist Prof, Mardin Artukulu University

Sema Bayraktar, Assist Prof, İstanbul Bilgi University

Sema Erder, Prof, Marmara University, retired

Semih Bilgen, Prof, Yeditepe University

Semra Somersan, Prof.

Senem Timuroğlu, Instructor, Özyeğin University

Sevilay Çelenk, Assoc Prof, Ankara University

Şahika Yüksel, Prof, İstanbul University

Şemsa Özar, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Şule Aytaç, Dr.

Şükrü Ekin Kocabaş, Assist Prof, Koç University

T. Elvan Altan, Prof, Ortadoğu Teknik University

Taha Kahraman, Prof, Akdeniz University

Tahsin Yeşildere, Prof, İstanbul University

Tamer Demiralp, Prof, İstanbul University

Taner Gören, Prof, İstanbul University

Taner Özbenli, Prof, Ondokuz Mayıs University

Tansel Korkmaz, İstanbul Bilgi University

Teoman Pamukçu, Prof, Ortadoğu Teknik University

Tezcan Duma, Assoc Prof, Ankara University

Tuna Altınel, Assoc Prof, Claude Bernard Lyon-1 University

Tuğrul Atasoy, Prof, Bülent Ecevit University

Tülin Özdemir Johansson, Assoc Prof, Lassel Üniveristesi

Tülin Ural, Dr, Mimar Sinan University

Uğur Kara, Assist Prof, Anadolu University

Ulaş Bayraktar, Dr.

Umut Şah, Instructor, İstanbul Arel University

Ülkü Doğanay, Prof, Ankara University

Ülkü Güney, Assist Prof, Abant İzzet Baysal University

Vangelis Kechriotis, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Veli Deniz, Prof. Kocaeli University

Veli Polat, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Vildan İyigüngör, Assoc Prof, Marmara University

Yahya Madra, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Yasemin Özgün, Assoc Prof, Anadolu University

Yasin Ceylan, Prof, Ortadoğu Teknik University

Yeşim Edis Şahin, Prof, Dokuz Eylül University

Yıldıray Ozan, Prof, Ortadoğu Teknik University

Yıldız Silier, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Yılmaz Özdil, Assist Prof, Mardin Artuklu University

Yonca Hürol, Prof, Doğu Akdeniz University

Yusuf Çiftçi, Instructor, Mardin Artukulu University

Yücel Demirer, Assoc Prof, Kocaeli University

Z. Umut Türem, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Zafer Ercan, Prof, Abant İzzet Baysal University

Zafer Yenal, Prof, Boğaziçi University

Zeki Kılıçarslan, Prof, İstanbul University

Zelal Ekinci, Prof, Kocaeli University

Zergün Utku Altıntaş, Dr, Gazi University

Zerrin İren Boynudelik, Dr, İstanbul Teknik University

Zeynep Gambetti, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

Zeynep Kadirbeyoğlu, Assist Prof, Boğaziçi University

Zerrin Kurtoğlu Şahin, Prof, Ege University

Zeynep Kıvılcım, Assoc Prof, İstanbul University

Zeynep Uysal, Assoc Prof, Boğaziçi University

NOTES

[1] The Wise People’s Committee (Akil İnsanlar Heyeti), which was composed of sixty-three members, was constituted on 4 April 2013 to explain the process to people and to report their expectations from peace.

[2] The Dolmabahçe Agreement was declared on 28 February 2015 by members of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) and People’s Democracy Party (PDP) as the framework for peace negotiations. However, after the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared his disapproval of the agreement, it was disowned by the JDP.

[3] On 15 July 2015, the Law on ending terror and strengthening of social cohesion was passed that gave a legal framework to peace negotiations.

[4] Abdullah Öcalan is the leader of the PKK and remains in prison since 1999.

[5] Throughout the 1990s when the war between the Turkish state and the PKK was at its peak, a number of human rights violations have been committed by the state against Kurds including disappearances, extra judicial murders, displacement, rape, and harassment. To this day, no one has been prosecuted for these crimes, although confessions of former officials who committed these crimes are abound. During the 2000s, Kurds living or working in cities of Turkey have been victims of numerous hate crimes.

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