On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled "We will not be party to this crime" on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative. With the participation of further academics, the number of academics who have signed the declaration has reached 2,212.
With the indictment issued by the Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt, lawsuits were filed against the academics on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
As of October 17, 2018, 335 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 28 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara University.
The penalty of Prof. Dr. Üstel was not deferred on the grounds that "she did not demand deferment of the announcement of the verdict and that she did not make a statement of penitence." As for the penalty of Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı, it was not deferred on the ground that "no opinion as to her avoidance of committing offense has emerged considering her personality which does not express any remorse."
On March 10, 2016, the Academics for Peace made a statement for press and shared with the public what they had been going through since the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" was published.
They were released on April 2016. Upon the request of the Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Justice granted a permission of trial as per the Article No. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code No. 301 on charges of "insulting the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey and the institutions and organs of the government."**
8 May 2019:
Turkish academic begins serving prison sentence for signing 2016 peace petition
Professor Füsun Üstel, the first academic who signed a peace petition in 2016 to be incarcerated, turned herself in to prison authorities today to begin serving her sentence, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported. Academics had gathered on Tuesday to bid farewell to Professor Üstel, whose 15-month prison sentence was upheld by the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice.
Speaking at the event, Üstel said: “We are not at the point where the word ends, but where it begins. As citizens, as individuals, we will voice our demand to live in peace.” Üstel will serve 11 months at the Eskişehir Women’s Prison in line with a law that stipulates individuals convicted of terrorist activities must serve three-quarters of their sentence in a penal facility and the remainder on probation.
The İstanbul Regional Appeals Court on March 3 upheld the prison sentence of Üstel, who signed a peace petition along with 1,128 other academics in 2016 calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of the country. The İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court had previously sentenced Professor Üstel to one year, three months for disseminating terrorist propaganda. Üstel refused the offer of a suspended sentence.