Friday, 7 June 2013

Time to support the Turkish demonstrators!

The protests in Turkey remain in the news as the BBC reports tonight there has been a clash of views between the European Union and the Turkish Government on the use of excessive force against the demonstrations taking place. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected any such criticisms by claiming that similar protests in Western Europe would be dealt with "more harshly".

In a disturbing development the BBC also reports:

Mr Erdogan accused the EU of double standards, saying police in Europe and the US used the similar methods.
"Similar protests have taken place in Britain, France, Germany and bigger ones in Greece," he said.
His government was open to "democratic demands", he added, but would not accept "terrorism, violence and vandalism"
This is not the first time the Islamist leader has accused the demonstrators of being linked to "terrorism" and it is worth taking a look at the demands of the protesters to belie this outrageous accusation.

The Statement of Demands by Taksim Solidarity:

To the Government and the people of the Republic of Turkey,

Across the country, particularly in Istanbul-Taksim, all the citizens are demonstrating their democratic reaction to the police violence pursued by the government as a response to the social sensitivity to the attempts to demolish Taksim Gezi Park at 22.00 on 27th May 2013.

First, we are share the grief of the families of Abdullah Comert and Mehmet Ayvalitas who lost their lives and we want to convey best wishes for a speedy recovery to our thousands of injured citizens.

Unfortunately, The government continues to follow policies of violence, oppression and prohibitionist rule despite the fact that the protesters are peacefully and democratically voicing their demands, which are democracy and the most basic human rights. We want everybody to know that we are making intensive effort to reach the social climate where not a single citizen’s nose bleeds, the tensions disappear and the democratic demands can be expressed.

Therefore, as Taksim Solidarity, we are waiting for the government to take concrete steps to immediately meet our demands listed below.

Gezi Park should remain a park.

• Taksim Gezi Park will not be re-developed under the name of Artillery Barracks or any other project,
• an official statement on the cancellation of the current project is made,
• the attempts to demolish Ataturk Cultural Centre stop,
• everybody responsible for the thousands of injured people and two deaths, starting with the Governors and the Police Chiefs of Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay and everyone who prevented the use of the most basic democratic rights of the people; who gave orders for violent repression, enforced or implemented these orders are dismissed from their posts,
• the use of tear gas bombs and other similar materials is prohibited,
• detained citizens who attended the resistance across the country are immediately released and an official statement which declares that there will not be any investigation about them,
• starting with Taksim and Kizilay squares, all the meeting and demonstration bans effecting all of our squares and public areas and all the de facto blockings are abolished and stopped,
• barriers to freedom of expression are removed.

Furthermore, we believe that the content, the spirit, the expectations and the demands of the reactions which have risen in the squares, avenues, streets and all the public areas of our country since 27th May 2013 22.00 should be recognized by the authorities. Trying to explain what has happened with “marginality” means ignoring it. It is seen that the current understanding of power which has been symbolized with the Gezi Park demolition is interpreted by our citizens as “intervention in their life styles and scorning”, that they have shown a public reaction to this with men, women, the young and the old and that their response to power is “we exist, we are here and we have demands”.

We would like to inform those who are currently in government that the content of this rising reaction consists of
• our reaction to the pillaging of our ecological heritage with plans and practices like firstly the project for the 3rd bridge over Bosporus, the project for the 3rd airport in Istanbul, Kanal Istanbul project, AOC (demolition of Ataturk Forest Farm), HES (Hydroelectric Power Plants) and more recently the draft law on the Protection of Nature and Biodiversity,
• our opposition against the war policies in our country and our region, our demand for regional peace, 
• the sensitivities of our alawite citizens,
• the rightful demands of the victims of urban transformation
• the rising voice against the conservative male politics establishing control over women’s bodies,
• the resistance against the oppression on the universities, courts and artists,
• the demands of all the labourers against their rights being deprived, particularly at Turkish Airlines,
• the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,
• the demand for the removal of all barriers between the citizens and their right to education and health service.

Labourstart are continuing their campaign and have issued the following statement:

Last night, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to Istanbul following a week of protests that have rocked the country.

If anyone was expecting a conciliatory tone, they were disappointed.

Addressing a crowd of his supporters, Erdogan said "These protests that are bordering on illegality must come to an end as of now."

Referring to the thousands of protesters in Istanbul's central Taksim Square, Erdogan's supporters chanted "Let us go, let's crush Taksim."

There is now a serious threat of violence directed against the peaceful protests in which our brothers and sisters in the Turkish trade union movement are playing such an important role.

To the 11,000 of you on this list who have already supported the campaign -- thank you.  But let's not stop there. If you haven't yet signed please use the following link!

Go to:

14,300 messages are helping to get Erdogan's attention.  He has already ranted about "foreign interference".

Our brothers and sisters in Istanbul, Ankara and elsewhere are in the streets and squares of Turkey's cities today.  The protests continue. 

Labourstart can be found here:

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