Friday, January 15, 2016

Erdogan's War on Academic Freedom

Erdogan’s War on Academic Freedom

by Stephen Lendman

Erdogan considers criticism of his rogue policies treason, going all-out to solidify unchallenged fascist rule, wanting opposition elements eliminated, waging war on press and academic freedom.

State-controlled Anadolu Agency news reported police arresting 12 academics (among over 1,100 others worldwide), signing a declaration - denouncing terror war without mercy on Turkish Kurds - part of Erdogan’s relentless attack on fundamental freedoms.

All 12 are Kocaeli University lecturers. Others on staff face arrest. Prosecutors charged targeted individuals with insulting the head of state and engaging in “terrorist propaganda” on behalf of the illegally banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Academics worldwide signed a declaration titled: “We won’t be a part of this crime,” calling on Turkish authorities to stop massacring Kurds, as well as lift siege conditions on their cities, towns, and villages.

Erdogan is waging merciless war on his own people, signatories said. “The responsibility for the present self-inflicted crisis in the country must lie squarely with (him), who perceives the Kurds…as obstacles to his plan to establish supreme rule for the Turkish presidency” - dictatorship by any standard.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is complicit with Erdogan’s ruthless agenda, duplicitously saying:

“It is really very saddening that some of our academics have signed such a declaration while we are fighting terrorism.” 

“Every day we are fighting against international terror such as Daesh and against the separatist terrorist organization that kills civilians…We are working to secure the life and security of our citizens.”

Truth is polar opposite his Big Lies. Erdogan as expected called the declaration “treachery,” denouncing its signatories, including Noam Chomsky, saying:

“Let our ambassador from the United States invite Chomsky, who has made statements about Turkey’s operations against the terrorist organization.”

Chomsky responded, saying if he “decide(s) to go to Turkey, it will not be on (Erdogan’s) invitation, but as frequently before at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds, who have been under severe attack for many years.”

Erdogan openly supports ISIS and other terrorist groups, while duplicitously claiming otherwise. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the region’s leading sources of state terror and destabilization, allied with Washington and rogue NATO partners.

Turkey’s state-controlled Council of Higher Education condemned declaration signatories. Turkish ones face police state prosecutions and imprisonments.

Thousands of political prisoners languish in the country’s gulag, among the world’s worst, notorious for torture and other horrific abuses.

Investigative reporter Nedim Sener was incarcerated for doing his job. After release, he said “I can describe (conditions) as a concrete grave…a place where people are left to decay.”

“Your eyes get damaged. Your sense of taste and touch disappear. Your attention to color fades.” State-sponsored cruelty “kills you soul. You can’t get back to life even after” release.

Deplorable conditions are meant to destroy bodies, spirits and souls. Guilt by accusation is automatic - due process and judicial fairness entirely absent.

Kocaeli University academics face horrific treatment. Erdogan considers truth-telling treason.

A Final Comment

A Turkish academic remaining anonymous for his safety said “many things are not going well here. I did not believe that the situation would decay so rapidly.”

Some elements “are openly calling the the extermination of” academics (and journalists) critical of regime policies.

“(T)he atmosphere is getting (increasingly) worse…(It’s) urgent (to) increase…awareness (of) nightmar(ish)” conditions. (It’s) not a page from 1984. (It’s) happening.”

The writer urged scholars and others outside Turkey to “raise their voices before it is too late.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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