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ECHR rejected application of Turkish academics targeted for signing peace declaration

- Turkish academics charged on terrorism charges for peace initiative 2017 Turkey - ECHR rejected application of Turkish academics targeted for signing peace declaration


nsnbc : The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected the application of Turkish academics persecuted in Turkey for having signed a so-called peace declaration. The academics wanted their case tried at the ECHR among others, for the alleged violation of their freedom of speech.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected the application of academics dismissed by statutory decrees issued under the state of emergency in Turkey, stressing that their dismissal constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

The Peace Declaration of the Academics “We will not be a party to this crime” was shared with the public on January 11, 2016 during a press conference. 1,128 academics from 89 universities as well as over 355 academics and researchers from abroad had signed the peace declaration. The declaration read:

“We ask the state to put an end to violence inflicted against citizens right now, we as academics and researchers of this country declare that we won’t be a party to this crime and that promise that we will sustain our stance in the presence of political parties, parliament and international public”.

Over 1,400 academics and researchers from Turkey and abroad have signed the statement titled “We will not be a party to this crime”.

Academics for Peace which has initiated the campaign has shared their next steps and signees in the press statement held simultaneously in İstanbul and Ankara.

1,128 academics from 89 universities in Turkey, and over 355 academics and researchers from abroad including figures such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar and David Harvey have signed a text calling on state of Turkey to end state violence and prepare negotiation conditions.

The petition is ongoing.

As academics and researchers of this country, we will not be a party to this crime!

“The Turkish state has effectively condemned its citizens in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, and many other towns and neighborhoods in the Kurdish provinces to hunger through its use of curfews that have been ongoing for weeks. It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons and equipment that would only be mobilized in wartime. As a result, the right to life, liberty, and security, and in particular the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment protected by the constitution and international conventions have been violated.

This deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law.

We demand the state to abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region. We also demand the state to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage. For this purpose we demand that independent national and international observers to be given access to the region and that they be allowed to monitor and report on the incidents.

We demand the government to prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement. We demand inclusion of independent observers from broad sections of society in these negotiations. We also declare our willingness to volunteer as observers. We oppose suppression of any kind of the opposition.

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. We will continue advocacy with political parties, the parliament, and international public opinion until our demands are met”. (BK/TK) (Full text here)

All of the academics face charges under Article 7(2) of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act which reads:

Turkish Anti-Terror Act – Article 7(2)

Any person making propaganda for a terrorist organisation shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years. If this crime is committed through means of mass media, the penalty shall be aggravated by one half. In addition, editors-in-chief (…)2 … who have not participated in the perpetration of the crime shall be punished with a judicial fine from one thousand to fifteen thousand days’ rates. However, the upper limit of this sentence for editors-in-chief is five thousand days’ rates.

Prosecutor Bozkurt claimed in the bill of indictment, that the peace declaration was “an overt propaganda for Kurdistan Worker’s Party/Kurdistan Communities Union (PKK/KCK)”. The indictment reads:

“It has been revealed, that the main purpose of the declaration is to build public support to stop military operations carried out in order to secure peace and safety of the citizens and clean the areas, where the PKK/KCK terrorist organization has declared a ‘self-governance’ from the terrorist. On these grounds, the Public Chief Execution has launched an investigation under “propagandizing for the terrorist organization”.

Among the cited crimes in the indictment, also a solidarity declaration that was issued by the academics in order to support academics Assoc. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Meral Camci, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya and Asst. Prof. Dr. Kıvanc Ersoy who were taken into custody and were kept in detention on remand for a month for reading out the first peace declaration of the academics. The Prosecutor’s Office accused the academics supporting their colleagues behind bars of “preventing the suspects from withdrawing their signatures from the [peace] declaration and to demonstrate that they could still challenge the Republic of Turkey by insisting on the propagandizing for the terrorist organization of PKK/KCK”.

The prosecutor has also argued in the bill of indictment, that “those who prepared the declaration, had changed some expressions in the Turkish and English on purpose and made little touches on the declarations which were submitted to foreigners to be signed.

The prosecutor has also addressed Bilgi University academic member Chris Stephenson from the “Academics for Peace” who was detained in Istanbul Courthouse while supporting three academics who were detained in March 2016 and were arrested for signing the peace declaration. In the indictment, Stephenson was accused of carrying materials for “terrorist propaganda” in his bag while coming to the court on purpose and for seeking support for the defamation smearing campaign against Turkey on international community.

A lawsuit was filed against Stephenson over “terrorist propaganda” and he was acquitted in the first hearing of his trial on June 23, 2016 as the charges cited in the bill of indictment did not constitute a crime according to the law.  The materials claimed to be materials for “terrorist propaganda” were leaflets for Newroz (New Year) celebrations prepared by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

F/AK – nsnbc 06.10.2017

NSNBC

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kurdistan

KRG delegation meets King of Jordan, Armenian PM, UN official in Davos

- Barzanikingabdullah3 - KRG delegation meets King of Jordan, Armenian PM, UN official in Davos


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation led by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is scheduled to meet with various world leaders on the sidelines of the 2018 annual World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

The delegation already met with Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss bilateral relations between Erbil and Amman, according to a Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Davos.

The Kurdish officials are scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister of Armenia, Karen Karapetyan, Wednesday afternoon.

Barzani is also expected to meet with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed later on in the day, the Kurdistan 24 correspondent reported.

The KRG officials arrived in Davos on Tuesday and are planning to meet with a number of world leaders during the three-day event.

It is the first time Barzani attends the forum. The former President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, previously took part in the event alongside the world’s leading figures.

In 2017, President Barzani attended the forum and met with then US Vice-President Joe Biden and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, among other officials.

Editing by Nadia Riva



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kurdistan

Peshmerga complete personal protection, riot-control training provided by coalition

- Coalitiontrainngpeshmerga34 - Peshmerga complete personal protection, riot-control training provided by coalition


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Peshmerga on Wednesday finished an eight-week training session for personal protection and riot control provided by a US-led coalition member.

“Twenty-five Peshmerga took part in the training which lasted eight weeks,” Amin Younis, a Peshmerga officer who participated in the training, told Kurdistan 24.

“The Peshmerga fighters were trained by Italian military advisers who are part of the Global Coalition to defeat the Islamic State (IS),” Younis explained.

He added that part of the training focused on protective detail abilities, which will allow the graduates to provide security for high-level individuals in the Kurdistan Region, notably Consuls and senior diplomats in Erbil.

There are over 38 foreign consulate and representative offices in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, including from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The Peshmerga officer noted that the training included riot control exercises on how to combat and manage protests in the Kurdistan Region in case demonstrations turn to violence.

Kurdistan 24 approached Italian advisers during the graduation ceremony in Erbil, but they refused to provide any comments.

Italy is one of the coalition members which has been training thousands of Peshmerga fighters since the fight against the Islamic State began in 2014.

Editing by Nadia Riva



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kurdistan

U.S, British citizens join battle against Turkey in Syria’s Afrin – Middle East

- 398817 - U.S, British citizens join battle against Turkey in Syria’s Afrin – Middle East


Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand together in Raqqa, Syria, October 16, 2017. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

BEIRUT – US, British and German volunteers who have fought Islamic State with Kurdish-led forces in Syria are in the Afrin region to battle a Turkish assault there, an official with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Wednesday.

The Kurdish Afrin region is being targeted in an assault by the Turkish army and Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army groups.

“There was a desire on the part of the foreign fighters who fought in Raqqa and who are fighting in Deir al-Zor to go to Afrin,” senior SDF official Redur Xelil told Reuters.

He declined to say when the foreigners had gone to Afrin, but said they numbered in the “tens.” “They will wage battles against the Turkish invasion,” Xelil said.

“There are Americans, Britons, Germans, different nationalities from Europe, Asia and America,” Xelil said.





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