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Iran Press TV

Erdogan lashes out at academics critical of anti-PKK campaign

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:3PM

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out Wednesday at a large group of academics who have criticized Ankara's campaign against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.

Speaking during a meeting with local Turkish politicians at the presidential palace in the capital, Ankara, Erdogan said the academics will continue to thrash around "in this pit of treachery they fell in."

The scholars showed "real and ugly faces" after their "masks fell off," the Turkish president said.

"So you think you will try to disrupt the unity of this nation, and continue to have a comfortable life with the help of the salary that you receive from the state and pay no price?" Erdogan said, warning, "Those days are over."

More than 1,200 researchers and academics from Turkey and abroad have signed a petition entitled, We will not be a party to this crime.

Turkish prosecutors have launched a major investigation into the signatories to the petition, detaining at least 18 people as part of the probe.

The petition urges the Turkish government "to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage."

The petition highlights the need for national and international observers to be given access to Turkey's southeast to monitor and report on the incidents taking place there.

Turkey's southeast has been volatile since a shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 collapsed following the Turkish military operation against the militant group.

Ankara's campaign began in the wake of a deadly bombing, blamed on the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, in the southern Turkish town of Suruc in July last year.

After the incident, the PKK militants, who accuse the Turkish government of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces.

The Turkish government has imposed curfews in the southeastern areas that have been targeted in the army's anti-PKK campaign.

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