Target: Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag
Goal: Drop the charges against academics accused of “making propaganda for terrorists” after calling for peace.
Four Turkish academics who signed an appeal for peace have been charged with “making propaganda for terrorists,” charges that could lead to seven-year long prison sentences. Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kivanc Ersoy and Meral Camci were arrested after publicly calling for peace and signing an appeal that has gone on to gain over 2000 signatures.
The appeal called for an end to the Turkish military campaign against the Kurdish Workers Party, known as the PKK. The long running conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government resumed last year, and has left major cities in Turkey under curfews.
The Turkish government responded to the appeal for peace by opening investigations into the initial signatories. When the four academics criticized these investigations, the chief prosecutor of Istanbul opened further investigations into the four. Subsequently, they were charged and remanded in pretrial detention.
The charges stem from a perceived lack of acknowledgement of the PKK’s use of violence. This is a clear violation of their right of free speech and free expression; the appeal did not advocate for violence, rather the reverse. Sign our petition and ask that Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag drop the charges and release Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kivanc Ersoy and Meral Camci from custody.
Dear Minister Bozdag,
The continued detention of Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kivanc Ersoy and Meral Camci is a violation of their human rights and contributes to a climate of intimidation against dissent. I urge you to secure their release and drop the charges against them.
While the four aforementioned academics signed an appeal calling for an end to the hostilities between Turkey and the PKK, they neither called for nor legitimized violence in their statements. Instead, they called for peace; I cannot understand how calling for peace could be considered the same as producing propaganda for terrorists.
I cannot ask for you to agree or to support the appeal he four of them signed–that is a matter for your conscience. I can, however, ask that you respect their right to speak their minds and advocate for what they believe in. Today it might be those that oppose the campaign against the PKK, but who is to say who will be silenced tomorrow.
So again I urge you to release Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kivanc Ersoy and Meral Camci and show the world that Turkey can respect the rights and freedoms of people, even when it is difficult.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Liam Quinn