12th January 2016
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spoken about the academics who released a statement condemning the on-going curfews and violence in the Kurdish region. Speaking at the dinner for Ambassadors being held in the Presidential Palace Complex, Erdoğan said, "You are either in support of the state or terrorists."
The statement entitled, “We will not be a party to this crime,” was signed by 1128 academics from 89 universities, including Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar and David Harvey.
To read the statement by academics click here
A summary of Erdoğan’s comments are below:
“A gang calling themselves academics”
“A gang calling themselves academics have surfaced. They are making accusations against their own state, which is defending its lands against a terrorist organisation. Rights and freedoms are supposedly being violated they say.
“Yes, the rights and freedoms of millions of our citizens are being violated by a terrorist organisation. These violations are being committed by the terrorist organisation. It is the terrorist organisation that is digging trenches and shutting down streets.
“They are the ones preventing freedom of movement with bombs. They are the ones burning down mosques, houses and places of work and firing at ambulances and making life hell.
“Despite all these facts, this gang calling themselves academics are accusing the state. We were face to face with the treason of this mentality a hundred years ago too. Then too there was a gang who called themselves intellectuals and believed that only foreigners could improve this country.
“Our nation concluded the War of Independence with victory and gave them the response they deserved.”
"We are face to face with the treason of so-called intellectuals”
“After our republic was founded these types took the best jobs. Today they receive their pay from the state and have a higher quality of life than the average citizen; we are face to face with treason of these so-called intellectuals.
“Kurdish citizens have no problem. There is no Kurdish problem/question in Turkey. Like everyone else Kurds may have individual problems. We can resolve these. We are a government that has carried everything we have in the west to the east, southeast of the country. Turkey’s problems is a terror problem, not Kurdish.”
“I have an offer for foreign academics”
“I want to leave the so-called academics who are from here but whose mentalities are foreign to one side. I have an offer for foreign academics though.
“Please come to Turkey. We are ready to tell them what is happening in each and every area. They can decide for themselves whether the state is violating laws or whether the terrorist organisation is violating people’s rights and freedoms.”
“The US Embassy should invite Chomsky”
“For example the US Embassy should invite Chomsky, who has made statements about Turkey’s operations before. He should come and see with his own eyes rather than the eyes of these so-called academics, who are members of the 5th branch.
“Let’s also invite academics whose hearts and minds are open. I believe we can communicate the truth to international public opinion in this way. For Turkey talking about the terrorism issue is no middle-ground matter.”
"You either support the state or terror…”
“You are either on the side of the state or of the terror organisation and terrorists. In our country and around the world those who differentiate terror organisations according to their beliefs, identities and rhetoric are in support of terror.
“The operations carried out by our security forces are to protect the future of our Kurdish brethren. Turkey will continue its struggle against terror. We do not have to get permission from these so-called academics.”
Following Erdoğan’s comments the Higher Education Council (YÖK) released a statement saying:
“The declaration issued by a group of academics that describes our state’s ongoing struggle against terror in the southeast as ‘massacre and slaughter’ has put our entire academic world under suspicion.
“This declaration cannot be associated with academic freedom. Providing the security of citizens is the primary responsibility of the state,” it said, adding that all rectors and an inter-university council would soon meet to discuss the issue."
Academics have been targeted by the state and media and fired for their jobs in the past regarding similar statements.