We are a group of academics, intellectuals, artists, curators, workers, scientists, students, in general citizens of the World. We would like to show solidarity with our friends and brothers and sisters in Turkey, who have been subject to immense police brutality by the Erdogan/AKP administration as a reaction to their non-violent, peaceful protests.
Since Monday, May 27th, citizens of Istanbul from all backgrounds have been staging a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, which is the city’s most central public park. The protestors’ goal was to protect the park, its trees, and landscape from a large project that would transform a public park into a shopping mall. The demolition of the park should be recognized as yet another incident of the government’s on-going appropriation and privatization of public and common resources with no respect for public opinion and judiciary process, and a lack of participatory democratic culture. Since the peaceful occupation started about ten days ago, Turkish police repeatedly intervened, with each intervention being more violent than the previous ones. The riot police set occupiers’ tents on fire, and used tear gas relentlessly, causing serious injuries. (see images +18)
Finally on May 31st, the police attacks included the use of rubber bullets, in addition to physically beating, ultimately causing the death of at least three protesters, and heavy injuries of many others.
Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey are resisting the AKP administration’s policies and the brutal attacks on the protestors continue. So far, there have been 4 confirmed deaths and 8041 injured. In addition, 96 people were arrested and arrests, 3398 people were taken under custody. Furthermore, 11,115 people suffered from side effects of excessive tear gas used by the police.(*)
This is not the first time protests have been met with excessive state violence. Most recently, the Turkish police used unreasonable force to disperse May Day protestors again attacking a group of peaceful demonstrators in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. This disproportionate reaction and outrageous violence by the government against its own citizens cannot be justified in any way. We know that a peaceful demonstration organized to express opinions is a basic constitutional right of the people of Turkey.
We are concerned about the magnitude of human rights violations and the increasing fear and oppression politics in Turkey. The Turkish constitution, much like the American, guarantees the right to peaceful demonstrations and to voice one’s opinions about matters of public policy. We are here to reaffirm that the freedom of thought and expression, and the differences in opinions are essential in any democratic society. We are here to remind the Turkish Government its obligations under international law to respect human rights, including but not limited to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, minority rights and the right to a sustainable environment. Rights that our brothers and sisters are defending with their lives in Turkey.
We also condemn the silence of the mainstream media. While we are following the news through social media and foreign news agencies, the silence of Turkey’s mainstream media is astonishing as well as extremely concerning. The people of Turkey have a right to see and know the extent of the events, which include thousands of people.
We are calling on the international community to support the right of the Turkish people to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. We demand an immediate end to the oppression and police brutality on the streets and elsewhere. We demand the responsible parties to be held accountable. We demand that social justice be maintained consistent with the people’s rights and freedoms. To our friends, brothers and sisters in Turkey: we are outraged by, and full of sorrow for the physical, psychological and cultural trauma that you are subjected to. In solidarity…
International Solidarity with Occupy Gezi Platform
This website aims at archiving the occupy movement in Turkey that has started with the protests at Gezi Parkı .
WARNING ABOUT THE PROVIDED MATERIAL
We will continue publishing these writings and sources within this project undertaken in order to expose and publicize numerous human rights violations in our country and to establish a memory, unless the authors, owners or interlocutors have any reservations or objections.
Gezi Park Resistance is an act of socialization. It is the struggle of people to protect and lay claim to their living space despite extraordinary oppression. We wholeheartedly hope that the knowledge and material produced during this process will be in harmony with the spirit of the resistance.
Our library is open to those around the world who are struggling for a more humane and honourable life. With the hope of reproducing the spirit of resistance.
(*) Based on information provided by Turkish Medical Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey on July1st , 2013.
This post is also available in: Turkish