Duvar English

A Turkish court has acquitted academics Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Gençay Gürsoy in the case that they were tried for signing a peace petition.

Both academics cited a previous top court ruling in their defenses, which said that the rights of the academics who signed the petition were violated.

Over 2,000 academics signed a petition called “We will not be a party to this crime” in early 2016 to urge the government to cease its military operations in the country’s southeast.

Days-long curfews were imposed and severe human rights violations by the security forces were documented during the operations that the authorities said were being carried out against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a group designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

“We, as academics and researchers working on and/or in Turkey, declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state,” the petition read, which was followed by a judicial process.

The academics were slammed by Turkish authorities, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for “making propaganda of a terrorist organization.”

Over 800 academics were tried in the process, of whom 204 were handed jail terms ranging between one year and three months to three years.

On July 26, 2019 the Constitutional Court ruled for ” rights violation” of Academics for Peace, while also sending the ruling to local courts for a retrial.

Before the hearing on July 7, Fincancı and Gürsoy said that the conditions that led the academics to sign the peace petition are ongoing.

“We will continue our struggle,” they said.