Turkey: Protests as first peace petition academics go on trial

Supporters of group of academics standing trial on terror offences for signing a peace petition protested outside Istanbul’s Caglayan Justice Palace on Tuesday. Over 100 Turkish academics signed the petition calling for an end to the military’s crackdown on outlawed Kurdish rebels that had begun six months earlier. The first ten academics from Istanbul University and Galatasaray University... Еще appeared at the court but the judge refused their plea to have their case thrown out or combined with the others charged. A number of EU diplomats, including the French ambassador were present at the hearing. A hearing date was set for April 12. They face up to seven years in prison. Ten more academics will will go through a similar hearing on Thursday. Feray A. Aydogan, Chairperson for Union of the Education Labours, stated that the people supporting the academics' cause will be judged for defending values such as peace, democracy and labour. «We are trying to write a history of peace, democracy, solidarity and hope. We are not here to say that we are innocent, we are here to expose the guilty today.» Individual cases were filed against some 148 academics who signed a peace petition in January 2016 promoting peace and criticising Turkey's government’s actions in southeast Turkey. The prosecution accused the academics of spreading propaganda in support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), regarded as a terrorist organisation in Turkey.

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