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Rector says signing peace declaration used as criterion in purge of academics

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Professor Mehmet Emin Arat, rector of Marmara University, has said academics who have been dismissed from the university through government decrees were selected according to whether they had signed a peace declaration in early 2016.

The peace declaration called on the government to halt operations by security forces in southeastern Turkey, restore peace to the nation and return to the negotiating table to restart shelved talks with the Kurds to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. A total of 1,128 academics signed the declaration.

“We at Marmara University selected those colleagues [who signed the peace declaration] from a list [for the purge]. I mean, no special effort was made to determine the names. Their names were already on the list,” Arat said in an interview with the BBC Turkish service.

In the wake of the protests arising from the purge of thousands of academics from universities by government decrees, the Higher Education Board (YÖK) announced in a recent statement that the lists of academics slated to be purged were drawn up by the universities.

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