The Emergency Procedures Examination Commission has issued its first rejection of appeals by several members of the Academics for Peace, a group of hundreds of scholars who signed a peace petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime!” in 2016.
Appeals by Dr Nail Dertli, Dr Ahsen Deniz Morva, Dr Erhan Keleşoğlu and Dr Hakan Ongan were rejected, news website Duvar reported on Thursday.
Dr Dertli, the first appeal to be rejected, had been expelled from the Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Science on Sept. 1, 2016 in a presidential order issued under Turkey’s state of emergency, declared in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15 in the same year.
The detailed ruling and the reason for the rejection will be relayed to Dertli in two months.
“To this day I have not seen an official reason for my expulsion. No pieces of evidence were presented to me,” Dertli told Duvar. “At least now I can launch a court process.”
Some 264 academics signed the petition in January 2016, calling for an end to the resurgent violence and curfews declared after a peace process between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) failed in the summer of 2015. The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
With later additions to the signatory list, a total of 822 academics have faced trial for terrorist propaganda.
The State of Emergency was declared on July 21, 2016, six days after the failed coup attempt. In the more than two years it remained in effect tens of thousands of people were detained, arrested, and expelled from their positions in public service.
The examination commission was established in December 2017, and has issued rulings on 118,415 appeals out of a total of 126,758. Only 15,050 appeals were accepted, while 103,365 were rejected. The commission is yet to decide on 8,343 cases.
To date, 719 academics were acquitted while cases continue for 91 others. Twelve were issued prison sentences that were not deferred or suspended, according to statistics the group publishes regularly.
Many acquittals came after Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that convictions over terrorist propaganda violated the scholars’ freedom of expression.