The doors of two academics at Ankara’s prestigious Gazi University have been marked with extremist slogans and a cross – which some say is intended to mark them as targets for violent reprisals.

The academics were amongst 1,128 lecturers and researchers who signed a petition calling for a cessation of violence in Turkey’s southeast. The Academics for Peace petition became a target for Turkish ruler Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this week, who insists that peace will play into the hands of terrorists.

Turkey has been under attack by an onslaught of terrorist bombings, with the latest purportedly by so-called Islamic State in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, and Kurdish insurgent group PKK in Çınar, Diyarbakır.

Gazi University, Ankara
Gazi University, Ankara

The letter posted alongside the crosses states, “we don’t want PKK supporters Kemal İnal and Betül Yarar in our university” and is signed “Gazi Communication Faculty Nationalists.”

In recent months Turkey has moved towards a system of Islamic National Socialist governance, which combines elements of political Islamism and presidential authoritarianism. Proponents say that the new system affords new religious freedoms for Islamists while strengthening the standing of ethnic Turks.

Erdoğan has been quick to point out that Hitler’s regime, which popularised National Socialism, achieved many economic and political successes which could be synthesised by the Turkish state.

Critics, however, are concerned by the impact such policies may have on minorities, including Kurds, Armenians, Alevi and secular Turks, counting the human cost as these groups are imprisoned or purged.