US newspaper: Turkey's prosecution of academicians calling for peace puts issue in spotlight

The US Sacramento Bay newspaper said that Turkey prosecuting critics of massacres against Kurdish civilians in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has created only global awareness of the issue.

In an editorial, Baki Tizjan, a professor at the University of California Davis, who wrote several books on the Ottoman period, is among the 2,200 academicians who signed a 2016 petition criticizing the heavy tactics of the Turkish army in the southeast. As a result, the Turkish authorities detained him last month upon arrival at Istanbul airport and is now under trial on trumped-up charges.

"Until recently, few members of our community have heard about Tizjan, and now his plight is a regular feature of the news ... Now we know how sensitive Erdogan's government is about accusations that it deliberately killed the civilians of the Kurds."

The newspaper, which is based in California, which includes a large number of Armenians, where Turkey denies the killing of about 1.5 million Armenians after the First World War.

 Turkey is now doing the same with the Kurds and trying all those who signed the 2016 petition. As of January, more than 452 signers had been tried on unfounded charges.

In a written statement to the court, Tezjan, the first Turkish-American accused in the case, rejected the charges against him.

The newspaper called on the judges of Turkey to put an end to the trial of Tizjan and other academicians.

"The trial of citizens who call for freedom of expression means attacking democracy and freedom and pushing Turkey back rather than forward." the paper said.

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