News / Europe

    Turkish Academics Call for End to Ankara's PKK Crackdown

    Plainclothes police detain a man in Istanbul, one of more than 200 people who were protesting peacefully against curfews and operations in mainly Kurdish cities and towns in southeastern Turkey, Jan. 3, 2016.
    Plainclothes police detain a man in Istanbul, one of more than 200 people who were protesting peacefully against curfews and operations in mainly Kurdish cities and towns in southeastern Turkey, Jan. 3, 2016.
    Dorian Jones

    In Turkey, more than 1,000 professors and teachers are calling for an end to the government's current crackdown on the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, in towns and cities across the predominantly Kurdish southeast.  The academics are calling for a resumption of the peace process.

    In a short statement, the academics condemned the ongoing crackdown by Turkish security forces on the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK.  

    They especially criticized the use of tanks in towns and city centers, calling it a deliberate massacre of Kurdish people.  Their petition with more than 1,000 signatures calls for an immediate end to the use of curfews and a return to the peace process that broke down in July.

    According to national and international human rights groups, nearly 200 civilians have been killed, many of them the elderly and children.

    The government disputes the numbers, saying far fewer have been killed and all steps are being taken to minimize civilian causalities.

    Despite the crackdown being one of the most severe by security forces since the peak of the conflict in the 1990’s, Professor Ayfer Bartu says there has been little public debate.

    "I am very disturbed by this public silence about what's going on in southeast Turkey.  I think people are scared to talk about this.  Especially as academics I felt we have the responsibility to at least call attention nationally and internationally and holding the state accountable for the atrocities that are taking place in southeast.  That is why I signed it," said Bartu.

    Recently, a well-known television talk show host apologized for criticizing the crackdown after a telephone interview with a teacher from the conflict-strewn region.  The television network and teacher are now under investigation for terrorist propaganda.  

    Petition organizer Professor Esra Mungan says similar pressure is being exerted in universities.

    On Monday, the main opposition Republican People’s Party said in 2015, there were nearly 500 criminal investigations into journalists and of that number, 156 were detained.  Thirty-two remain in jail.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his government is determined to uphold human rights.  

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 12, 2016 12:42 PM
    Turkey's solution to its Kurd problem is staring it in the face. Carve a Kurdish state out of Northern Syria, Iraq, and Iran where they can all go. Turkey will be rid of them for good and they will have a country of their own that is no threat to Turkey. Whoever drew up the map of the Mideast after WWI must have been a blithering idiot. Hmmm, wasn't that Winston Churchill? Yep, a cigar chomping fatso who drank a bottle of Champagne for breakfast and mumbled a bunch of meaningless platitudes he's remembered for. He wasn't much but he was the best England had. Kudos Winston for your brilliant performance at Gallipoli. Never have so many died for so few to gain so little.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 14, 2016 1:57 PM
    If we all went back to where our ancestors came from 7 1/2 billion people would be living in the rift valley in Africa where it is believed human life began.
    In Response

    by: AbdelNasser
    January 12, 2016 2:22 PM
    A better solution is for the Turk to leave Anatolia and go back to the Mongolian Steppe.

    by: Mehmet
    January 11, 2016 4:17 PM
    What is happening in Turkey nowadays to the Kurds has striking resemblance to what happened to Armenians in 1915 and was the start of what is called "The Armenian Genocide by the Turks".

    Kurds are also on the verge of Genocide by the Turks, all the symptoms indicate so.
    In Response

    by: Davut
    January 12, 2016 1:18 PM
    Hey Mert from Türkiye: You live in an imaginary world where Turks are not savages. But in reality, Turks are savages and Turks have killed Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and many other people.
    In Response

    by: Mert from: Türkiye
    January 12, 2016 4:14 AM
    Turkish never killed any armenian in history thats their and little kurds lies. Conversely armenians and kurds kill Turkish People who is suffered(ing) persecution from you many years. Look at history you will see kurds groups kill 40000 Turkish People. If you think Turkish kill or genocide kurds why don't you go another country? Because you are lying for show that Turkish People cruel.
    In Response

    by: Fuller
    January 12, 2016 2:53 AM
    Meanwhile Merkel goes to Turkey and takes a smiling photo with Erdogan.

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