Government fears another Gezi: we stand with the people’s artists, journalists and academics.
Turkey has become a country where anybody that protests, refuses to obey and is not one of the ruling government is declared as an enemy. It has been over 5 years since the Gezi resistance but the Public Prosecutor of Ankara has begun an investigation into 63 people in relation to Gezi, and now the Public Prosecutor for Istanbul is also starting an investigation into a further 120 people. Arrest warrants have also been issued for actor Mehmet Ali Alabora and journalist Can Dundar in relation to the Gezi resistance. The investigations are being used to manipulate public opinion and rally support for Erdogan ahead of the local elections in March. Some of those being investigated including architect Mucella Yapici have already been tried and acquitted previously by the Turkish Courts, and no new evidence or charges have been brought.
Artists and journalists, who have supported millions of people by resisting encroachments on personal life and liberty, have been declared “terrorists” and courts that are aligned with the ruling political leadership are issuing warrants.
The messages from the Gezi resistance are clear: “stop interfering in my life style”, “stop the destruction of the environment by bloodsucking developers”, “stop interfering in my freedom of thought and expression” and “stop stealing the country’s resources”. And those fighting against corruption and injustice are calling for the resignation of the government and an end to AKP rule. Erdogan and the ruling AKP know that a resistance movement similar to Gezi will bring their fall from power. For this reason they cannot even tolerate theatre productions.
The “gilet jaunes” protests in France has reminded Erdogan of the power of the people. Erdogan remembers the masses in Turkey demanding his own resignation and the courts at his bidding have issued arrest warrants in response to this fear.
Peace campaigner and President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey facing prison sentence
Furthermore, this week the president of Humans Rights Foundation of Turkey (THIV) and Evrensel columnist Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci was tried in Istanbul for claims that she was promoting “terrorist propaganda”. The court has refused to suspend the sentence.
Fincanci was one of the 1128 academics for peace who opposed the war on the Kurdish regions and published a leaflet titled “we will not be complicit in this war”. It is her involvement in this campaign and her interviews to newspapers, that prosecutors alleged amounted to terrorist propaganda that the courts sentenced Fincanci to 2 years and 6 months imprisonment. Fincanci is not just the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey but also a forensic medical expert and is being punished also for revealing footage of burned children’s bones that were found in the aftermath of the government’s bombardment of (the Kurdish region) of Cizre.
It is clear that campaigning for peace poses a threat to the Erdogan and AKP regime, and it has been a long time since the judiciary was able to act independently.
We reject this sentence against Sebnem Korur Fincanci and call for all investigations aimed at her to be ceased immediately. The judiciary must immediately stop prosecuting and punishing those that fall out of favour with the ruling government.
Mehmet Ali Alabora, Can Dündar, Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci and other friends fighting for democracy in Turkey are not alone. We will continue to struggle against a regime which arbitrarily arrests and prosecutes its citizens and invite you to join us.
We call on all trade unions, artists, campaign groups, intellectuals, the British people and all those of Turkish, Kurdish origin in the UK to stand against Erdogan/AKP’s one-man regime.
We ask that our friends fulfil their historical responsibilities by supporting the people of Turkey and their struggle. There are many ways in which you can help, some examples include:
- issuing press releases
- writing articles/blogs on developments in Turkey
- raising awareness through local political and campaign groups and work places
- writing to your MPs and the Turkish Embassy to call for an end to the persecution of democratic opposition
- actively observing/monitoring trials
- passing motions in your local trade union branches
- affiliating to SPOT
Our 3rd Annual SPOT conference also provides an opportunity to hear from those who have seen and experienced the reality of life under Erdogan’s regime and we invite you to find out more at our “Fighting for Democracy under Authoritarian Rule” annual conference on 9 February 2019 at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD at 10-5.
Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)