Declaration by Women’s Coalition

We Are Calling Upon The Government: Immediately Stop Police Violence And The Aggressive, Threatening And Condenscending Attitude Against The People.

The peaceful sit-in began to counter planned construction at the Taksim Gezi park, which would replace one of downtown Istanbul’s few green spaces with a shopping mall, has evolved into nationwide demonstrations and people’s resistance as a result of the brutal police violence and firing with tear gas and water cannons on the protestors. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s disrespect for the universal human rights and related laws, his condescending attitude and the style of language he continually uses about the demonstrators, added further to the growing discontent and demonstrations in a very short period of time.

 This attitude, which have further narrowed down the space for basic rights and freedoms and which continues to ignore people’s right to assembly and participation has caused people to take refuge on the streets in thousands of numbers. Regretfully, the Prime Minister continues to view every differing views, protests and demonstrators as ‘secret enemy forces’,’marginals’, and as ‘traitors’ and thus reflects an extreme intolerance for any form of dissent. He has also encouraged the society to divide as two opposing poles by calling the demonstrators as ‘others’ with hidden interests to topple his government. We believe on the contrary that Taksim Gezi Park resistance offers a good opportunity to listen and to construct a much stronger peace and social solidarity environment in Turkey. The government needs further to withdraw from an attitude and from using a terminology that continually criminalize the peaceful demonstrators.

 The street demonstrations and people’s demands are regarded by the government as criminal and unlawful, justifying the growing police brutality. If people’s demands are continued to be ignored and violence against the demonstrators sustained, we believe that the damage will escalate further, more innocent people will get hurt, and, the state of things may reach a point of no return. We would like to remind that all governments gain legitimacy not only by the number of votes they receive, but, from the degree of respect they pay to basic human rights and freedoms and to their protection. In this connection, we invite, primarily, the Prime Minister and the members of his government, to act responsibly in securing human and individual rights by the removal of the police from all civil demonstration locations, stopping police brutality that has been exercised against the people, and, eliminating all excessive use of the very aggressive, separationist and condenscending language style and the attitude that appears to have been widely adopted at the highest level of the government.

 It should be remembered that it is the prime responsibility of the state to secure and protect basic human rights and freedoms, under all conditions.