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Young Academicians' Protest Letter to Prime Minister Erdogan

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

We, as the youth and academics of this country, of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Alawite, Shafi'i, religious and nonreligious, atheist and agnostic backgrounds, all joined with a firm belief in secularism, find your recent remarks about raising a religious and conservative youth most alarming and dangerous.

The assassination of Turan Dursun because of his beliefs and ideas, attempts to lynch Aziz Nesin, massacres of Maraş and Sivas, and most recently the assassinations of Father Santoro and the workers of Zirve Publishing house, are still fresh in our memories. It is against this background of events that a speech which only serves to divide people on the basis of religious affiliation, and targets atheism, to which hundreds of thousands of Turkish nationals adhere, as the root of all evil, is all the more unacceptable. We would therefore like to remind you that it is your primary duty, as the Prime Minister, to be impartial to all segments of the society, and that this is the fundamental rule of democracy.

We further condemn your speech which served only to hurt and humiliate the children that live on the streets in Turkey (stigmatised with the media-catchphrase of ‘thinner-addicted children’), who already live under harsh conditions and who are subject to abuse. The plight of these children is not due to a lack of spirituality, as you have implied, but is caused by the deep-rooted social and economic problems of our country, to which you have served as Prime Minister for a decade.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Your foremost duty and responsibility is to make sure that all citizens have equal access to a system of education that is essential in bringing up future generations capable of critical thinking, who prioritise love for humanity and nature; and to make sure that conditions required for a dignified and honourable life are accessible to all.

Finally, we, as signatories to this petition, would like to express our concern for over hundred journalists, thousands of politicians, Busra Ersanli and more than five hundred students, who are imprisoned as of this writing. We sign this petition to break through this sphere of fear, and we are ready to face the consequences.

With all our respect,

If you agree with us and want to be heard please sign the