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AKP deputy says peace signatory academics, journalists do not even deserve to live

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Şahap Kavcıoğlu, a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said academics, journalists and politicians who signed a peace declaration in 2016 do not deserve to live, Gazete Duvar reported on Tuesday.

Signatories of a peace declaration titled “We Will Not Be a Party to This [Turkish state’s] Crime” and issued in January 2016 are facing accusations of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

“They smeared Turkey. They wrote that Turkey was carrying out a massacre and they signed it. With whom did they do this? Can there be such treason against the state? None of the academics, politicians and journalists who signed this declaration would even be given the right to life in any country. Putting them in prison aside, they would not be given the right to life,” said Kavcıoğlu during a commission meeting in Parliament.

Recalling that he is an academic, too, the AKP deputy said: “Academics who signed this declaration do not have the right to work in universities in Turkey. They do not have the right to teach students in Turkey.”

Published in early 2016, the peace declaration accuses the Turkish government of carrying out heavy-handed operations in Turkey’s southeastern region, where outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the military have been engaged in clashes since the breakdown of a cease-fire between the two in July 2015.

Academics for peace demanded that the Turkish government put an end to blockades and curfews in Kurdish towns, avoid targeting civilians in the conflict with the militant PKK, reinstate necessary conditions for a cease-fire with the militants and ultimately secure an atmosphere for a sustainable peace between the Kurds and the Turkish state.

It was signed by more than 2,000 intellectuals from both inside and outside Turkey, including US philosopher Noam Chomsky.

The peace declaration frustrated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government, leading to retribution against the academics. Some of the insults Erdoğan used against them included “so-called intellectuals,” “a flock called intellectuals,” “traitors” and “rough copies of intellectuals.”

Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained when police raided their homes and offices across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan. 11, 2016, while hundreds of them were removed from their jobs.

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