Following the arrest by Turkish police of 27 academics Friday accused of promoting “terror propaganda” because they signed a petition calling for an end to Turkey’s “deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish people,” the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Noam Chomsky to Turkey to discuss his signing of the document.
The document was signed by 1,400 others including the internationally-renowned U.S. political analyst, intellectual and linguist Chomsky and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Conservative Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized the academics and those who signed the document, and said, in reference to the 27 or so academics, that those who chose not to do politics in parliament "should go dig trenches or go to the mountains," in a clear reference to the tactics and hideouts of the Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK.
According to RT, after the arrests, Erdogan said, “Let our ambassador from the United States invite Chomsky, who has made statements about Turkey’s operations against the terrorist organization.”
Chomsky responded via The Guardian: “If I decide to go to Turkey, it will not be on his invitation, but as frequently before at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds who have been under severe attack for many years.”
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Erdogan and the PKK signed a cease-fire agreement that fell through in July. Since then, tens of thousands of civilians of Kurdish ethnicity have been trapped in the middle of fighting between the warring parties in urban regions in southeast Turkey
Most of the arrests were carried out in the industrial province of Kocaeli in western Turkey close to Istanbul. The government has justified the arrests saying the academics are being investigated for insulting the state and engaging in terrorist propaganda.
Turkey’s opposition and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara criticized Erdogan government's decision to investigate the academics and search their homes.
Erdogan defended his government’s anti-Kurdish actions saying they use civilians as human shields and their homes as trenches from which to shoot at security forces.