Turkey, Politics

Turkish leaders blast academics for 'ignoring' PKK

President Erdogan and PM Davutoglu round on declaration signed by over 1,000 academics

Turkish leaders blast academics for 'ignoring' PKK



Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has lashed out at a declaration signed by a group of Turkish academics which described security force operations against PKK terrorists in the country’s southeast as a "massacre". 

Davutoglu's remarks came in response to Monday's manifesto signed by about 1,100 figures dubbing themselves the Group of Academics for Peace.

Their statement called for an end to the security forces’ ongoing counter-terrorism operations amid curfews, accusing the state of violating human rights and of conducting a “deliberate and planned massacre”.

"It is an unacceptable declaration by academicians who must look out for all issues of the country while we are fighting against terrorism," Davutoglu said on Thursday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, or TUBITAK in Ankara, Davutoglu said the academics had failed to condemn violence from the terrorist organization PKK.

He said those speaking on democracy and peace should understand that it is possible to maintain both only by public order.

Speaking after Wednesday night’s deadly car bomb attack on a police facility in Diyarbakir, Davutoglu said:

"You uttered no single word on the terrorist organization in your manifesto. Otherwise, do you embrace the acts of this terrorist group that killed a five-month-old baby?"

Davutoglu accused the academicians of equating the state with a terrorist organization.

"The way to be an intellectual and support democracy requires one to first support democratic methods. I am asking again: ‘Why do you align to stand behind a terrorist organization that targeted police lodgings and nearby houses just last midnight, where five civilians, including a five-month old baby, were killed and one police officer was martyred?’", he said.

"I felt so sorry and ashamed on their behalf. We really need to put our thinking cap on how the intellectuals and citizens of a democratic state of law took such a one-sided stance to insensibly criticize those trying to preserve the legitimate order while excusing violence and terror," he added.

The premier reiterated that Turkey would never permit any organization other than the democratic government to take a grip on any area of the country, if the manifesto's call for "end to conflicts" means "demanding the state withdraw its security forces from those districts and de facto leave there to the members of an illegitimate terrorist group."

Meanwhile, Istanbul Kucukcekmece Public Prosecutor's Office also launched an ex-office investigation into the academicians who signed the manifesto from universities in Istanbul's Avcilar, Basaksehir and Kucukcekmece districts.

President Erdogan condemns statement

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday also criticized the group, saying the academics were committing a betrayal by “imposing the tone of the PKK organization on the nation”.

"The issue here is that a mass calling themselves academics is imposing the language and tone of the terror organization on public opinion,” said Erdogan in Ankara.

Saying that his objection had nothing to do with different thinking or different opinions, Erdgoan added:

"There is no difference between taking up arms on behalf of the terror organization and making propaganda for it.

“It has definitely no relation to freedom of thought and expression."

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