Turkish academic and some university students detained by police in Ankara

Turkish police on Friday detained academic Cenk Yiğiter, who had signed a petition in 2015 calling for a peaceful end to Turkey’s three-decades-old conflict with Kurdish rebels, Duvar news site reported.

The police also detained some university students, while the reasons for detentions are still unclear, Duvar said.

Yiğiter is one of the signatories of the petition, known as Academics for Peace, who were removed from their roles at universities over the past two years by governmental decrees issued under the emergency rule that was declared following a coup attempt in 2016.

The signatories of the peace petition are charged with terrorism offences and if convicted could face sentences of up to seven-and-a-half years each.

Yiğiter was handed a suspended sentence of one year and five months in prison on Oct. 4 for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“I am a doctor of law sacked by government decrees. I am not allowed to write in some academic journals, to attend some academic meetings. I can’t work in public universities. I can’t work in private universities. I am not allowed to works as a lawyer. I am not allowed to be a student at Ankara University. I am not allowed to have a passport and go abroad,” Yiğiter said on Twitter last week.

More than two years after being dismissed from their jobs by government decree, almost 130,000 Turkish public sector workers are still awaiting justice and facing an uncertain future, Amnesty International said in a report published last month.