French Philosopher Dedicates Book to Turkey’s ‘Academics for Peace’
French philosopher Étienne Balibar dedicated his latest book Libre Parole (Free Speech) to ‘Academics for Peace‘, a group of Turkish academics prosecuted for signing a pro-Kurdish anti-war petition, the Turkish media reported on Sunday.
According to Gazete Karinca, the book published by Editions Galilée compiles three of Balibar’s articles focusing on freedom of expression, with the aim of presenting new perspectives to free speech under the conditions of present day.
Among those articles is the speech Balibar delivered at the Hrant Dink Human Rights and Free Speech Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey, in January. Balibar’s speech at the conference, named after slain Armenian-Turkish journalist Dink, was titled “Democracy and Freedom in Times of Violence”.
Stating that he found it essential to put together the articles in question considering the current situation of freedom of speech, Balibar dedicated his book to Turkey’s “Aacademics for Peace”, saying:
“The entire book has been dedicated as an expression of solidarity full of admiration, concern and emotions, to our colleagues and friends from Turkish universities, who are signatories of the call ‘We will not be accomplices in this crime‘ made by Academics for Peace, who were fired from their jobs, deprived of the right to travel abroad and for whom, years of imprisonment has been sought on charges of ‘terrorist propaganda’ and ‘insulting the Turkish nation’.”
At least 500 of 2,000 signatories of the ‘Academics for Peace’ petition, which was released in January 2016, were put on trial, facing up to seven-and-a-half years. They were also dismissed from their positions, with some being subjected to travel bans and having their passports revoked.
The petitioners opposed the clashes between the Turkish state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), calling on the government to stop its military campaigns in the Kurdish-populated towns in the country’s southeast, and suggested that the talks with the PKK resume.
Prosecutors have been accusing the academics of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist propaganda”.
PKK is designated as a “terrorist organization” by the European Union (E.U.) and the U.S., along with Turkey.