1,250 academics from around the world have denounced the detention of 15 Boğaziçi University students who protested some students that opened a stand and distributed Turkish delight* in the campus to commemorate people who lost their lives during Afrin operation.
The open letter of support, which was originally published by 199 academics including Judith Butler and Nancy Fraser on March 30, has received the support of 1,250 academics.
In the open letter of support, where 1,250 academics from over 100 institutions in 37 different countries have denounced the detention of 15 Boğaziçi University students, the academics have responded to the the statements of President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who addressed the detained students in his speech on March 24, 2018 by saying, "These communist, these traitor, terrorist youngsters smashed the stands of the [Turkish delight distributing] students. We will not grant these youngsters the right to university education."
Among the signatories of the letter are Angela Y. Davis, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Alice Crary, Nancy Fraser, Marianne Hirsch, Michael Hardt, Etienne Balibar, Mary Marshall Clark, Seyla Benhabib, Jay M. Bernstein, Partha Chatterjee, Bertell Ollman, Susan Buck-Morss, Pulitzer Laureate Junot Diaz, Homi K. Bhabha, David Graeber, Todd Gitlin, Immanuel Ness, Eduard Brezin, Nobel Laureate Eric Wieschaus and Jack W. Szostak.
With the open letter written by the academics from Academic Solidarity Network, 1,250 academics have addressed the government of Turkey and demanded the immediate release of all detained students who expressed their political opinions.
The letter has been sent to the consulates of the Republic of Turkey in New York and Washington D.C, the officials of the government of Turkey including President Erdoğan, the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) officials as well as the President of Boğaziçi University.
The letter called "Open Letter of Support for Students Arrested at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey" is as follows:
"As members of academic communities around the world, we strongly oppose the recent arrests and harassment of students at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.
"On March 19, 2018, students demonstrated against a campus event supporting the Turkish soldiers who fought in the invasion of Afrin, Syria, which was organized by the Society for Islamic Research (İslam Araştırmaları Kulübü). The arrests on campus, as well as subsequent police raids of student homes and dormitories, continue a disturbing trend of criminalizing political speech and dissent in Turkey.
"President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has cynically referred to these students as "terrorists", vowed to expel them from Boğaziçi University, and to deny them the right to study at any other university. We have heard this kind of verbal attack from Erdoğan before and it was followed by the detention of thousands of academics, journalists, artists, and human rights advocates.
"We call upon the Turkish government to immediately release all student detainees.
"We call upon the Turkish government to immediately cease all investigations and arrests of students exercising political speech.
"We express our solidarity with these students, who continue to courageously express their dissent, despite the great risks they face.
"We pledge our support to these students through the public and private means available to us." (EA/SD)
* Turkish delight is distributed to honour the soul of someone, who has recently passed.
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