Collective Letter to Turkish Constitutional Courts in Support of Peace Petition Scholars

Jul 25, 2019 by SAH News

The Society of Architectural Historians was a signatory on a letter, drafted by fellow learned societies MESA and AHA, to the Judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey.  The letter expresses support of the academics and scholars who signed the Academics for Peace Petition in 2016.  As the Scholars at Risk Network details, “a growing number of scholars in Turkey face criminal charges and have been prosecuted solely as a result of the nonviolent expression of ideas; specifically having signed a petition in January 2016 (the so-called 'Peace Petition').”

The letter is available below and online

UPDATE 7/29/19 - Turkey’s top court ruled Friday that 10 academics had their rights violated when they were sentenced on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for signing a petition calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast, the Associated Press Reported. Read More

24 July 2019

The Honorable Judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey
Ahlatlıbel Mahallesi İncek Şehit Savcı
Mehmet Selim Kiraz Bulvarı No: 4 Posta Kodu:
06805 Çankaya/ANKARA
Fax: +90 312 463 74 00

Your Honors,

We are writing on behalf of the premier academic associations in the United States in the social sciences and humanities to express our support for the right of scholars and academics to sign the Academics for Peace Petition. Several of our associations include members who are signatories of the petition and we have been following closely the course of the criminal cases that have been filed against signatories in various courts in Turkey over the last two years.

We appreciate your court’s decision to prioritize the appeals in these cases. We have noted with great interest recent developments in Turkish courts and were heartened by some of your court’s recent rulings upholding protections for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, such as in the cases of Ayşe Çelik (decided on 9 May 2019, case number 2017/36722) and Deniz Yücel (decided on 28 May 2019, case number 2017/16589). We hope that your court’s judgments in cases involving academic freedom and freedom of speech protections for scholars will also exemplify a commitment to the rule of law above political considerations.

We urge you to demonstrate your commitment to the rule of law and the international agreements of which Turkey is a signatory and which protect the freedom of expression and assembly and academic freedom as you consider the cases of the Peace Petition signatories on 26 July 2019.

Yours sincerely,

American Academy of Religion
American Anthropological Association
American Dialect Society
American Folklore Society
American Historical Association
American Political Science Association
American Sociological Association
Association for Asian Studies
Association of College & Research Libraries
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
International Center of Medieval Art
International Society for Third Sector Research
Latin American Studies Association
The Medieval Academy of America
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association
National Communication Association
National Council on Public History
Oral History Association
Organization of American Historians
The Rhetoric Society of America
Shakespeare Association of America
Sixteenth Century Society & Conference
Society for Ethnomusicology
Society of Architectural Historians
Society of Biblical Literature
World History Association