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We, the signatory academics to the Peace Declaration that went public in January 2016, have been subjected to multiple forms of intimidation, repression, defamation by governmental authorities as well as by pro-AKP groups in Turkey for more than two years. Despite all the pressures we have stood for our claim to peace in our country. Despite all the intimidation we opted to stand in solidarity against the breach of our academic rights and liberties.

This is a call to our colleagues worldwide against the violation of our right to movement [1] due to the unlawful cancellation of our passports within the scope of State of Emergency, mostly via decrees in the force of law through which we are banned from public service [2].

Some Peace Signatories who are not included in any decree in the force of law are also arbitrarily subjected to this restriction. Even the family members are subjected to similar violations. As of August 2018, 405 peace signatories were banned from public service. Since it is not only the peace academics but their families whose right to movement is violated the number reaches detrimental levels. Besides, it is not only the peace academics who are immediately affected by this unlawful practice but the process works such arbitrarily that it can target anyone deemed to be opposing the government’s practices.

Many of us cannot start the scholarships abroad that we have as a result of this unlawful practice. Besides our right to work, also our rights to access health services and education are denied in Turkey. And there is no effective domestic remedies. This is because the government labels us as complicit to ‘terrorist’ activities.

This locks us into a sphere where we can no longer pursue our academic engagements at institutional level as we are no longer recognized as full citizens. : ‘Civil death’, it is called! [3]

That is why we prioritize the support of international academic and intellectual community. We ask our colleagues all around the world to support us in our search for claiming our right to movement. Below is a list of ways for support. Please do add your own ideas and let us know.

1. You can spread the word by:

a. sending individual emails to your colleagues, to the administrative bodies in your workplaces and/or in the academic and research institutions with which you are affiliated

b. writing petitions supporting our claim to the right to movement.

2. You can raise (academic) public opinion by symbolic acts of:

a. inviting academics whose passports are cancelled to your institutions for research, as guest lecturers, as visiting faculty

b. starting collaborative research

c. organizing different forms of academic meetings where the academics whose passports are cancelled feature as participants.

3. Above all, you can continue supporting us by repetitive engagement in forming various forms of international academic solidarity networks and procedures.

Notes

[1] The right is enshrined in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Please see the link: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

[2] Article 5: Those against whom an administrative action is taken on the ground of their membership to, or connection or contact with structure/entities, organizations, groups or terrorist organizations, which are found established to pose a threat to the national security, and those against whom a criminal investigation or prosecution is conducted for the same reason shall immediately be reported to the passport department concerned by the institution or organization that takes action. Upon this information, the passports shall be cancelled by the passport departments concerned. Please see the link: http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-AD(2016)037-e

[3] Cem Küçük, a columnist in one of the pro-government mass media outlets (Star) proposed ‘civil death mechanisms’ for the peace signatories. ‘Medeni Ölüm’ Mekanizmaları Gerekli!’ Star (Turkish daily), January 16, 2018. Accessed: http://www.star.com.tr/yazar/medeni-olum-mekanizmalari-yazi-1082729/

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