Turkey opens ‘terror’ trial of academics over peace petition
ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
Turkey on Dec. 5 began the trial of a group of academics charged with terror offences for signing a petition calling for peace in the country’s southeast.
Over 1,120 Turkish and also foreign academics signed the petition which emerged in January 2016 calling for an end to the security operations.
The academics say the petition was an apolitical call for peace but prosecutors charged 146 of the signatories with making propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The first 10 -- from Istanbul University and Galatasaray University -- went on trial in Istanbul on Dec. 5 with the hearing attended by EU diplomats including the French ambassador.
Each suspect had a 10-minute hearing at the start of a marathon process expected to continue until at least April.
The prosecution has chosen not to stage a mass trial involving all the suspects in the same case.Outside the court, students gathered in support of their lecturers, brandishing banners with slogans, including: “Don’t touch my professor!”
If convicted, the suspects face up to seven-and-a-half years in jail.
None of those who went on trial on Dec. 5 is currently being held behind bars.Renowned U.S. philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky, who also signed the petition, issued a statement in solidarity with the Turkish scholars, criticizing the penal case as a “shocking miscarriage of justice.”