Prosecution of Turkish peace petitioners rests on faulty logic - academics

The prosecution of a group of academics who signed a petition for peace in Turkey’s southeast is based on faulty logic, scholars Judith Butler and Başak Ertür wrote in the British liberal Guardian newspaper.

“The indictment begins with the petition, citing it verbatim, and then concludes, without any argument, that it is a declaration that supports the PKK,” they wrote, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party.

This claim was assumed from the start in the indictment, leading to a failure to correctly define the motives of the peace petitioners, Butler and Ertür said

“The steps by which the indictment distorts the petition seem to be these: (1) in calling for the cessation of violence against the Kurdish people, the signatories are taking sides with the Kurds; (2) the Kurds are regarded as terrorists, so taking sides with them is to ally with terrorism; (3) the call for a peaceful solution involves negotiating with terrorists; (4) a call for negotiation with terrorists constitutes propaganda for a terrorist organisation,” they wrote.

“Thus, (5) a petition to cease violence and enter into negotiation to achieve peace and to comply with national and international laws protecting human rights is nothing more than propaganda for Kurdish violence.”

Prosecutors launched investigations into all the 1,128 original signatories of the petition after it was submitted in January 2016. It is not clear how many of them are currently being prosecuted, but more than 100 cases have having been opened and more than 500 of them have lost their jobs.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in fighting between Turkish armed forces and the PKK, which began its separatist campaign in 1984.