Turkish Academics Call for Peace

The state of Israel, which has been illegally occupying the Palestinian territories for 56 years and has been besieging Gaza since 2006 in violation of international law, as also stated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, is today committing another crime against the Palestinian people in front of the eyes of the whole world.

On October 7, 2023, the “Joint Room for Palestinian Resistance Factions” consisting of a total of 12 Palestinian organisations with diverse political orientations – often reported in the media only as Hamas – crossed the Gaza border and killed more than 1400 people, most of them civilians, with air and ground attacks. The Israeli state thereupon, using this massacre almost as an excuse or even ‘opportunity’, began to apply the heaviest state terror against the Palestinian people to date.

In the midst of these massacres, we witnessed the constant bombing of hospitals, the complete destruction of two hospitals, the bombing of ambulance convoys and the open declaration of the Israeli state that it will not recognise any law of war. As of November 6, the death toll in Gaza is estimated to have exceeded 10,000, including thousands of children and women.

Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide

The Israeli government today uses Hamas’ recent attacks as a pretext for its massacres, but we know that the Palestinian people have been subjected to intense repression and violence by the Israeli security forces even in the absence of Hamas. The Israeli government, which has been labelled an apartheid regime by many Jewish diaspora initiatives as well as by political and civil initiatives of Israeli citizens, implies in front of the eyes of the world that it aims to wipe out the people of Gaza, estimated at 2.2 million, from the face of the earth. The land operation launched by Israel amounts to ethnic cleansing and even genocide.

We are already witnessing the voices of many Israeli academics, journalists and intellectuals who are speaking out, and who are now being targeted and witch-hunted by their own state for questioning the official narrative of the state. We heard the voices of these brave people who are speaking out against their own state’s unjust war and massacres during the Gaza bombardment in 2014. It gives us hope to see that the number of people joining this voice has increased exponentially after Israel’s massacres in Gaza today.

As Academics for Peace from Turkey, we are well aware of the silencing and intimidation methods that states can use against dissenting voices, especially in extraordinary situations such as war, and therefore we stand in strong solidarity with both our Palestinian colleagues and our colleagues in Israel who speak out against the crimes of their state.

We, the undersigned Academics for Peace from Turkey, call on the international public, politicians and media to take a stand against Israel’s massacres. We also call on Turkey to cut all military, commercial and diplomatic relations with Israel until the occupation ends and peace is established. As in all conflicts in the world, a lasting peace can only be secured if the oppressed have an equal say in peace negotiations. •

For a complete list of signatories, see barisicinakademisyenler.net.

The Academics for Peace (Turkish: Barış İçin Akademisyenler, BAK) refers to an association of academics who support a peaceful solution to the Kurdish Turkish conflict. They were established in November 2012 and their first public appearance was in support of hunger strikers in Turkish prisons.