October 25, 2016

Turkey detains 12 academics accused of signing ‘peace declaration’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish security forces detained 12 academics accused of signing a declaration calling for renewed efforts to end violence between government forces and Kurdish separatists, NTV said on Friday.

The declaration – which criticised the government’s handling of recent violence in the predominantly Kurdish south-east and called for the end of curfews – has been signed by more than 1,000 people, including the US philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Police were looking for seven others, also in western Turkey’s Kocaeli Province – an industrial heartland near Istanbul, NTV reported.

Prosecutors had launched an investigation into the declaration on Thursday after its signatories were heavily criticised by both President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for supporting what they call terrorism.

Turkey has seen some of the worst violence for decades after the collapse of a ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) last July left a peace process to end the three-decade insurgency in tatters.

The spiral of tit-for-tat violence has seen security forces carry out widespread operations in the southeast – locking down entire districts and pounding PKK outposts in residential areas, while Kurdish fighters have launched attacks against military and administrative targets. Hundreds have been killed in the fighting.

Overnight on Wednesday a Kurdish militant attack on a police station in Cinar killed six, including a baby, officials said.

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