University and College Union
London Retired Members' Branch

Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey

The Turkish government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continue to oppress political dissent violently and illegally in Turkey. On January 11, President Erdoğan accused 1128 academics of treason for signing  a call for peace in Turkey. In the call, the signatories stated that they would not be party either to the massacre against the Kurds or to Turkish’s state’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties. Following Erdoğan’s speech, hundreds of academics who signed the petition were subject to disciplinary and criminal investigations, detentions and suspensions.

Chris Stephenson, socialist activist and lecturer at Istanbul’s Bilgi university, has been charged with possessing “propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” His trial starts on 23 June. The charge is serious and could result in a long prison sentence.
Chris was central to organising one of the first trade union branches at a private university in the country. He has held various elected positions in Turkey’s DiSK trade union federation.
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Resolution of the London Retired Members' Branch
"We ask the international community and elected representatives to call on the Turkish government to stop the witch hunt against Academics for Peace, respect academic freedoms, free the arrested academics, and re-instate all the academics suspended or expelled during the persecution campaign with compensation. We call upon the TUC and the international labour movement to show solidarity with our victimised colleagues."
Letters condemning the persecution in Turkey to be sent to the Turkish Embassy and the British Foreign Office