In January 2016, over 1,000 Turkish academics signed a peace declaration calling on the government to end violence against Kurdish civilians in the Southeastern provinces and to resume the 2013 peace process.

Following the release of the declaration, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the signatories as terrorist sympathizers and launched a campaign to investigate these academics for producing terrorist propaganda. Despite this harassment and intimidation, the number of signatories grew to over 2,000 by the end of January 2016. Since then, the signatories of the peace declaration have been subject to criminal and disciplinary investigations, detention and imprisonment, dismissal, suspension from duty, forced resignation, bans on leaving the country, and withdrawal of research funding.

Following the failed coup attempt in July 2016, the persecution of the signatories has intensified. Unionized workers and academics that are critical of the government have been targeted by the authorities in the name of purging the coup plotters. Under the conditions of the present state of emergency, in addition to academics, journalists, writers, Members of Parliament and ordinary citizens have been arrested for disagreeing with government policies.

CUPE National has joined with the international community to express our solidarity with our Turkish sisters and brothers. We continue to monitor the situation closely.