15 Turkish academics detained after signing declaration

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish police on Friday detained 15 academics who were among more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration denouncing military operations against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

See Full Article

The move deepens concerns about freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

Prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation into the academics on possible charges of insulting the state and engaging in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The move came after Erdogan severely criticized the signatories, including linguist Noam Chomsky, and called on the judiciary to act against the "treachery."

Erdogan said the academicians' declaration was biased against the state, used the same language used by "terrorists" and did not speak out against the rebel group's violence. On Thursday, Kurdish rebels detonated a car bomb at a police station in southeastern Turkey, then attacked it with rocket launchers and firearms. Six people were killed, including three children, authorities said.

Erdogan on Friday, prayed at Istanbul's Blue Mosque and walked to the nearby site a suicide bomb attack Tuesday that was blamed on the Islamic State group and killed 10 German tourists. He also renewed his attacks against the scholars.

"Just because they have titles such as professor, doctor in front of their names does not make them enlightened. These are dark people," Erdogan said. "They are villain and vile because those who side with the villain are villain themselves.

In the declaration, more than 1,000 academics from Turkey and abroad said they refused to be "a party to the crime" and called on the government to halt what they said was a "massacre."

The declaration was referring to military operations against Kurdish militants in neighbourhoods and towns in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast where the government has imposed extended curfews. Those militants, who are linked to the PKK, have mounted barricades, dug trenches and set up explosives to keep authorities away. The operations have resulted in more than 100 civilian casualties and displaced thousands, human rights groups say.

The academics also called for the resumption of peace efforts with the rebels.

The 15 detained are lecturers at Kocaeli University in northwestern Turkey, Anadolu reported. The agency said a total of 21 academics at the university face arrest after prosecutors in Kocaeli province launched an investigation. Several other universities instigated probes into faculty members who also signed the declaration, according to Anadolu, in moves that could lead to dismissals. The Dogan news agency reported Thursday that Duzce University in northwestern Turkey fired a sociology lecturer for signing the declaration.

The United States expressed concern over the proceedings against the scholars, saying all citizens should be free to express controversial or unpopular views.

"Criticism of government does not equal treason," U.S. Ambassador John Bass said through the embassy's Twitter account. "Turkish democracy is strong enough and resilient enough to embrace free expression of uncomfortable ideas."

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its western allies, has waged a more than 30-year separatist battle in southeastern Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • China imposes limit on oil supply to North Korea

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- China announced Saturday that it will limit oil exports to North Korea under U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile development, further reducing support from Pyongyang's last major trading partner, energy supplier and diplomatic ally. Source
  • Tempers fray as search for Mexico earthquake survivors winds down

    World News CBC News
    Tempers frayed in Mexico City on Friday as the search for survivors amid twisted rubble of collapsed buildings began to wind down, three days after the country's most deadly earthquake in a generation. The 7.1 magnitude quake levelled 52 buildings in the sprawling Mexican capital at lunchtime on Tuesday, leaving thousands homeless and close to 300 people dead. Source
  • Does North Korean H-bomb threat push U.S. closer to war?

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Would exploding a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, as North Korea has threatened, push the current war of words between the U.S. and North Korea closer to actual war? As with much that has transpired lately in the U.S. Source
  • In Jojutla, Mexico, earthquake left hundreds homeless and hungry

    World News CTV News
    In the Mexican town of Jojutla, hundreds of people have been left homeless by Tuesday’s earthquake and so many buildings are damaged that some locals fear their town may never be rebuilt. Jojutla is just 50 kilometres from the magnitude 7.1 quake’s epicentre. Source
  • Now that bestiality is illegal in Ohio, convicted child rapist charged after allegedly giving dog oral sex

    World News Toronto Sun
    CLEVELAND — A man accused of performing a sex act on a dog has been charged under a new state law that criminalizes bestiality. The law went into effect March 21 and makes sexual contact with an animal a misdemeanour offence that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail upon conviction. Source
  • This Canadian army corporal's Invictus training inspired her to revisit old dreams

    Canada News CBC News
    Kelly Scanlan had always planned for a lifetime of service. "I have police officers in my family, I have firefighters in my family and I kind of wanted to follow in that tradition when I was done with the military," the 26-year-old corporal with the Canadian infantry told CBC News Friday. Source
  • At least 21 U.S. states were targeted by election hacking

    World News CTV News
    The federal government on Friday told election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems before last year's presidential election. The notification came roughly a year after U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials first said states were targeted by hacking efforts possibly connected to Russia. Source
  • Mexicans homeless after quake rely on kindness of strangers to survive

    World News CBC News
    For 12 years, Adriana Lemos has walked up to apartment 903 of the Osa Mayor, a 14-storey apartment building in downtown Mexico City. Now, as she picks her way carefully up the stairs past piles of rubble, she fears this may be the last time she will see her home. Source
  • Suddenly homeless Mexicans rely on the kindness of strangers to survive after quake

    World News CBC News
    For 12 years, Adriana Lemos has walked up to apartment 903 of the Osa Mayor, a 14-storey apartment building in downtown Mexico City. Now, as she picks her way carefully up the stairs past piles of rubble, she fears this may be the last time she will see her home. Source
  • 'Russo-phobic hysteria' sours U.S. relationship: Russian foreign minister

    World News CTV News
    Russia's foreign minister said Friday the downturn in relations with the United States began with the Obama administration's "small-hearted" and "revengeful" actions and has plummeted further because of "Russo-phobic hysteria." Sergey Lavrov told a news conference there has been a lengthy campaign claiming Russia interfered in the U.S. Source