Chomsky Calls Turkish Trial against ‘Academics for Peace’ a Shocking Miscarriage of Justice

TUCSON, Ariz. (A.W.)—Renowned linguistics professor and political activist Noam Chomsky has called the penal case against the signatories of the “Academics for Peace” petition is a “shocking miscarriage of justice, which friends of the Turkish people can only view with dismay.”

Chomsky (L) speaking to David Barsamian (R) at the 2014 Armenians and Progressive Politics conference, organized by the ARF Eastern U.S. (Photo: Aaron Spagnolo)

In January 2016, 1,128 concerned academics in Turkey (and 356 international scholars) signed a peace declaration called  “We will not be a party to this crime.”

These academics, known as “Academics for Peace,” were then targeted by the Turkish government and the media, because they called upon the state authorities to end the curfews and stop the human right violations in heavily Kurdish-populated provinces of Turkey.

“The wording of the indictment, throughout, makes it clear that the case is an assault against fundamental rights of free expression that should be zealously safeguarded,” Chomsky wrote in an open letter, dated Dec. 4.

Signatories were prosecuted and subjected to disciplinary investigations by their universities. This persecution inspired widespread solidarity campaigns around the world, which have collected over 2,000 signatures. Thousands of academics and academic organizations around the world condemned the prosecutions, including the National Academy of Sciences Human Rights Commission that published a statement signed by several Nobel Prize laureates.

“To take only one example, the signers are accused of calling on the government ‘to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage,’” Chomsky wrote. “These are entirely reasonable appeals, quite standard in free societies, and very natural and praiseworthy on the part of concerned citizens.”

In his letter, Chomsky added that there is nothing in the petition that supports terrorism “in the slightest way.” “The tortured attempt of the prosecution to distort a principled appeal for peace and justice into support for terrorism should not be tolerated in a society that values freedom and basic human rights,” the letter concluded.

Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona.

The post Chomsky Calls Turkish Trial against ‘Academics for Peace’ a Shocking Miscarriage of Justice appeared first on The Armenian Weekly.

Source: Armenian Weekly
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