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.  

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora