Turkish academics to be tried in April over Kurdish letter

By REUTERS
December 5, 2017 16:27
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ISTANBUL - A Turkish court on Tuesday adjourned for four months the trial of 10 academics who signed a letter to the Turkish government last year calling for violence against Turkey's Kurds to end. The academics are the first group from 148 who are being prosecuted for signing the open letter. They are accused of insulting the Turkish government and carrying out propaganda for a terrorist group.

In total, 1,128 academics from Turkey and abroad, including philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky, signed the January 2016 letter, titled "We will not a be party to this crime!"

It called for an end to violence in Kurdish-majority towns in eastern Turkey, which escalated after the collapse in 2015 of a ceasefire between the Turkish government and the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Tuesday's hearing, against six academics from Galatasaray University and four from Istanbul University, was adjourned to April 12 after the court rejected the lawyers' submission that the letter was a criticism of the government, not an insult.

Criticizing the government is not punishable under Turkey's penal code, while insulting it is.

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