THROUGH: EAC/Global info
Six years after the impressive protests in Istanbul for the preservation of the Gezi Park, the prosecution is now underway against 16 activists. Below is the text of a petition addressed to the Turkish government to end the repression. The BPW stands behind this statement and has also signed the petition. We call on everyone to do the same.
This petition was started by European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City, the petition is addressed to the Government and 1 other party
16 activists from the Gezi Resistance in Turkey are facing trial, where prosecutors are demanding an increased life sentence plus 2,976 years for their role in “organizing and financing” the Gezi protests during the 2013 Taksim Solidarity protests in Istanbul, Turkey.
This latest attempt by the Turkish authorities to bring 16 people to justice on charges without any evidence is contrary to all universal legal norms and is a futile attempt to smear and criminalize this exemplary democratic resistance and environmental and social concerns, silencing political parties, professional associations, NGOs and urban grassroots platforms. It is an unacceptable attempt to invert universal norms and intimidate all citizens who want to use their most basic democratic right to protest to protect their rights and common good.
We reject these attempts and declare that we stand on the side of these sixteen people and the millions of people who have taken to the streets to defend their most basic universal rights. We stand in solidarity with Taksim Solidarity and all citizens of Turkey and admire their courage to defend democracy and life.
Solidarity is a duty, not a crime! Read below, sign the petition and share it!
Follow the process on Twitter @defendinggezi / @4HousingandCity and for more information, visit http://geziyisavunuyoruz.org
We, members of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, from 20 countries, and the other signatories to this appeal, ask the Turkish government:
1. Stop the violation of human rights;
2. Immediately exonerate the 16 people from the Gezi trial;
3. Immediately release the arrested activists, academics, journalists, university students and artists who have expressed outrage at undemocratic attempts;
4. Stop unfounded accusations of people expressing democratic demands (right to the city, cessation of evictions, illegal urban development, etc;)
5. Stop the attempts to suppress the democratic right to free speech;
6. Equal rights for all, especially victims of police brutality;
7. Stop targeting and criminalizing journalists, academics, lawyers, doctors and other professionals who want to expose the truth;
8. Stop associating peaceful defense of rights with conspiracy theories.
We declare that we will follow the course of this case closely and that we will stand by our demands to support all those involved in the Gezi Resistance as it has been and continues to be an honorable mass movement that many other "right to the city' movements worldwide.
The Gezi Resistance emerged in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2013, because of the disproportionate police force deployed against the civilians who peacefully occupied Gezi Park to protect it from illegal demolition to make way for the construction of a shopping mall. Their determination, despite the incessant police brutality, has influenced millions of people and is a unique example of defending environmental justice and urban democracy.
Taksim Solidarity – an exemplary urban initiative involving 126 NGOs, professional associations, trade unions, political parties, neighborhood associations and individual citizens who oppose the Turkish government's plans to reform Taksim Square in the heart of Istanbul, including a shopping center in Gezi Park, was engaged in a legal battle to halt the project when bulldozers entered Gezi Park during the night hours.
The incessant police brutality against peaceful protesters over the following days has sparked much wider reactions and has led millions of people across the country and around the world to protest peacefully in support of the Gezi resistance. Instead of prosecuting the police officers responsible for the murder of 9 young people during the protests and the more than 40 protesters who have lost their eyes to being shot at them with tear gas canisters and injured thousands, the Turkish government has repeatedly tried to criminalize peaceful protesters, doctors who helped them during the protests, lawyers, academics and journalists.
In February 2019, Turkish prosecutors filed charges demanding an aggravated life sentence plus 2,976 years for 16 people for their role in “organizing and financing” the Gezi protests. This latest attempt by the Turkish authorities to bring 16 people to trial with an unsubstantiated charge that violates all universal legal norms is a futile attempt to tarnish this brilliant and exemplary democratic resistance. It is an irrational attempt to criminalize individuals, political parties, professional associations, NGOs and urban grassroots platforms, thus silencing individuals concerned about the environment and society. It is an unacceptable attempt to upend universal norms and intimidate all citizens who want to use their most basic democratic right to protest to protect their rights and common good.
We reject these attempts and declare that we are on the side of these sixteen people and the millions of people who have taken to the streets to defend their most basic universal rights. We stand in solidarity with Taksim Solidarity and all citizens of Turkey and admire their courage to defend democracy and life.