Turkey's "peace academic" freed after three days in detention
A Turkish court on Monday released academic Cenk Yiğiter, who was detained by police on Nov. 9 along with a group of university students and interrogated for three days, Turkish news outlet Bianet said.
Yiğiter, a former law professor at Ankara University, is one of the signatories of a petition in 2015 calling for a peaceful end to Turkey’s three-decades-old conflict with Kurdish rebels.
More than 400 signatories, known as Academics for Peace, have been removed from their positions at universities over the past two years, including Yiğiter.
Yiğiter's attorney Erkan Çiftçi told Bianet that his client had been charged with "engaging in actions and activities in the name of a terrorist organisation" due to his social media posts and statements he made to the press that following his dismissal from Ankara University in January 2017.
“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 on Nov. 2 said on Twitter.
KHK'li bir hukuk doktoruyum. Bazı dergilerde yazımın yayınlanması, bazı bilimsel toplantılara katılmam yasak. Kamuda çalışmam yasak. Vakıf üniversitesinde çalışmam yasak. Avukat olmam yasak. Ankara Üniversitesi'nde öğrenci olmam yasak. Pasaport almam ve yurtdışına çıkmam yasak.— Cenk Yiğiter (@cenkyigiter) November 2, 2018
Yiğiter was asked whether he knew the students who were detained along with him, and remain in custody on similar charges. Yiğiter said he had had a conversation with one of them, but did not know the others.
During the interrogation, Yiğiter also said he had no sympathies for the PKK, an armed separatist organisation that was waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades. He rejected the charges.
Journalist Kemal Göktaş said on Twitter that Yiğiter was freed but the release did not compensate him for the unlawfulness of his detention.