Academic Solidarity Across Borders

Türkçe: Sınırlar Ötesi Akademik Dayanışma

Deutsch: Grenzenlose wissenschaftliche Solidarität

For the past decade, we are seeing a global rise of authoritarianism and coercive power against the livelihoods of those fighting for peace. We call for support of action towards transnational peace, equality and social justice in academia and beyond. This campaign aims to provide material support to young scholars in Turkey who have been unjustly punished by the Turkish state for their critical opinions and lost their livelihoods. Your generous donations that are tax-deductible in Germany will help critical thought grow beyond borders.

Who are we?

In January 2016, 1128 academics in Turkey signed the Peace Petition, entitled “We Will Not Be a Party to This Crime” to draw public’s attention to the brutal acts of violence perpetrated by the state in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. After the press release and initial persecutions of academics, more academics joined in for support, amounting to 2000+ petitioners in number. Many colleagues lost their jobs, their passports were cancelled and confiscated, they have been subject to physical and verbal threats. Some were taken into custody and imprisoned. Hundreds have been robbed from the right to work in the public sector through governmental decrees and most of them faced individual criminal court cases. Despite all this repression, threats and unending harassment, Academics for Peace have continued to stand for their initial statement for peace, resist and collectively support each other.

Up to this day, Academics for Peace received several Prizes and Awards:

  • Aachen 2016 – Peace Prize
  • Johann-Philipp-Palm 2016 – Award for Freedom of Press and Expression
  • Middle East Studies Association 2016 – Award for Academic Freedom
  • Diyarbakır Medical Chamber 2016 – Prize for Peace and Democracy
  • Human Rights Association 2016 – Ayşe Nur Zarakolu Award for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  • Hrant Dink 2016 – Inspirations Award
  • Halkevleri 2016 – Solidarity Award
  • Social Democracy Foundation 2016 – Prize for Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Solidarity
  • İstanbul Medical Chamber 2017-Sevinç Özgüner Award for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy
  • Scholars at Risk Network 2018 – Courage to Think Defender Award
  • Suruç Families’ Initiative 2019 – Award for Justice and Resistance.

Germany has been one of the main destinations for dismissed academics. As a part of the above-mentioned academic collective action, Academics for Peace-Germany e.V. (AfP – Germany) was founded in 2017 as a non-profit organization by peace academics and supporting colleagues. The main objectives of the AfP – Germany are to serve the peaceful coexistence of people; support persecuted and at-risk academics as well as students; and, promote freedom of expression in sciences. AfP – Germany positions itself as an international “hub” for human rights organizations, NGOs, academics, as well as international press working on rights violations academics are faced with.

Since 2016, AfP – Germany organized several activities to raise awareness about systematic human rights violations against academics and graduate students in Turkey:

  • Solidarity meetings with the existing diaspora populations in Germany that came from Turkey,
  • Open letters to German and international academia to increase public awareness about the pressures and continuing court hearings in Turkey,
  • Press statements and advocacy efforts for imprisoned academics in Turkey,
  • Academic workshops with colleagues in Germany,
  • Open seminar series, film screening, regular online seminars series in collaboration with various NGOs.

Currently, the association has more than 80 members who are affiliated with thirty different universities and academic institutions across Germany. Our members are actively involved in academic and civic work in almost all federal state of Germany. The larger group of Academics for Peace is an international network with members and supporters not only in Germany but also in France, UK, US and Canada, as well as in Turkey, who are supported by peace defenders in other European countries as well as diverse geographies.

The photo used in this poster was captured at the Ankara University on February 10 in 2017, when the police forcefully entered the Cebeci campus to stop the press release of dismissed academics and their students.

Invitation to Support Transnational Peace and Critical Exile Knowledge

This campaign, which is supported by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), aims to support the livelihood, the continuing study of graduate students and research assistants in Turkey who have been persecuted due to signing the petition called “We Will Not Be a Party to This Crime’.” Among the 2212 signatories, there are 734 Ph.D. students, research assistants, and junior scholars whose tenure was put on hold. Most of them are coming from various disciplines of social sciences, who are focused on social and historic problems of contemporary Turkey. Yet, most of them could not leave Turkey due to travel bans and the confiscation of their passports. Among them, 160 students need urgent financial support for various family and health issues.

How do I lend support?

AfP – Germany is closely monitoring the situation of academics/students at-risk via regular phone calls and emails. AfP – Germany is also searching for mechanisms to support those who are in urgent need. For this campaign, AfP – Germany built a donation account specifically for those students in dire financial need. Since AfP – Germany is a non-profit organization, all donations are tax-deductible through receipts.