Turkish PM denounces academics calling for end to violence in southeast, urges them to condemn PKK
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has slammed hundreds of academics and intellectuals who called on Ankara to end military operations in southeast Turkey, urging them to condemn acts of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) instead.
“It is really very saddening that some of our academics have signed such a declaration while we are fighting terrorism. Every day we are fighting against international terror such as DAESH and against the separatist terrorist organization that kills civilians in dormitories, including a five-month-old baby. We working to secure the life and security of our citizens,” Davutoğlu said on Jan. 14, speaking at a technology forum.
He also strongly condemned the overnight truck bomb attack on a police station in the predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Jan. 13, vowing that Turkey would continue its fight against “every kind of terror.”
The prime minister said six people had been killed and 39 wounded in the attack in the small town of Çınar in Diyarbakır. The attack, which local authorities blamed on the PKK militants, came days after a suspected suicide bomber from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul.
Earlier in the week, 1,128 academics from 89 different universities – including foreign scholars like Noam Chomsky, David Harvey and Immanuel Wallerstein – signed a declaration titled “We won’t be a part of this crime,” which called on Ankara to end the “massacre and slaughter.”
Labeling the group “poor excuses for intellectuals,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in an address to Turkish ambassadors gathered for an annual conference on Jan. 12, lashed out at the signatories and said human rights violations in the southeast were being committed by “terrorists,” referring to the PKK militants, not by the state.
“Being an intellectual and defending democracy is first of all possible by defending democratic methods. Why are you aligning behind this terror organization, which last night targeted police dormitories and houses around the dormitories, slaughtering five of our civilians, including a five-month-old baby, and a security officer?” Davutoğlu also said, addressing the signatories of the statement.
“You don’t mention the terror organization even with one word in your declaration. Are you embracing the acts of the terror organization? Are you embracing the acts of this terror organization, which last night slaughtered a five-month-old baby? If you are not, then you need to announce this with a declaration,” he added.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 13 notorious convicted criminal Sedat Peker publicly issued death threats against the signatories.
“We will spill your blood in streams and we will shower in your blood,” said Peker, a well-known convicted criminal, in a message posted to his personal website on Jan. 13. The message was titled “The So-Called Intellectuals, The Bells Will Toll for You First.”
Peker’s publicly delivered threats led both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to urge prosecutors to take legal action against the former criminal.
While strongly denouncing the academics’ statement in his Jan. 14 speech, Prime Minister Davutoğlu did not refer to Peker’s message.