It all started with a press conference held simultaneously in Istanbul and Ankara by academics fr om various Turkish universities. They announced the petition “We do not want to be partners to the crime” signed by 1128 academics from different fields at universities in Turkey and abroad. They stated that they were part of the Academics for Peace Initiative.
The petition in both Turkish and Kurdish demanded that the government lifted the curfew in several Turkish provinces wh ere an armed confrontation between Kurdish militants and the Turkish security force takes place.
The President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked the academics and labeled them as “so-called intellectuals, unscholarly” during the annual Ambassadors Conference in Ankara. His speech came only hours after the suicide attack in Istanbul on Jan. 12.
Erdogan said the academics who signed the petition were “shadowy” instead of being “enlightened,” and to him, those “so-called intellectuals” were merely tools of propaganda of the “terrorist” Kurdistan Workers Party. What they had committed was “treachery.”
The next day, Sedat Peker, a crime boss who had been imprisoned for several years for organized crime connections, showed solidarity with the president and announced that “the bloods of those so-called intellectuals will be spilled,” and that he would be “delighted to take a shower with their blood.”