Saturday, 1 June 2013

End the repression in Turkey

I have sent this protest letter to the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic and the Mayor of Istanbul this morning:
End the repression of the protestors in Taksim and in cities across Turkey

I am writing as a National Executive member of the National Union of Teachers in London, the largest teaching union in Europe, to call for the cessation of the violent repression of protests that is being widely reported internationally.

If the Turkish Government persists in attempting to impose its will through such repression of dissent, then these methods will only further inflame tensions within Turkey whilst also damaging the international standing of the Turkish Republic internationally.

The world is watching your actions. I call on you to cease your repression and reconsider the proposed redevelopment of the Taksim Gezi Park which sparked these protests in the first place.

Martin Powell-Davies,

Member of the NUT National Executive for Inner London, U.K

Solidarity Protest in London
For further information see for example:

and the following appeal for support from Day-Mer:

We are writing to ask for your support against police brutality on ordinary people who oppose the building of a shopping centre on the site of a park in Istanbul that has existed for nearly 100 years.

On 27th May 2013, a police escorted demolition team arrived at the Taksim Gezi Park to flatten the entire park and destroy all the parkland, including the trees. Despite resistance from local people and environmentalist groups, the site was cleared and demolition work proceeded.

The police then clashed with protesters who began to occupy the park. The activists have been camping there for three days in an attempt to stop the destruction. The demolishing soon grounded to a halt after Sırrı Süreyya Önder, an MP for the Peace and Democracy Party, stood in front of one of the bulldozers for three hours. This led to a wider resistance building up and galvanised a massive stand against the demolition of the site. The determined environmentalists, community groups, members of political parties and trade unionists continued to occupy the park until 30th May 2013. On the morning of 30th May 2013, approximately around 5am in the morning, the police have used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd. This only increased the support for the protesters and attracted hundreds more from all sorts of backgrounds to make the resistance stronger.

Turkish riot police continued to fire tear gas and water cannons into crowds of demonstrators gathered in Istanbul’s Gezi park on Friday 31st May 2013. Despite the order by an Istanbul court for the temporary suspension of the project to uproot trees in the park, the extensive use of tear gas and water cannons on crowds resulted in deaths and serious injuries. Unconfirmed reports suggest that at least 4 people have been killed, while hundreds are injured, with seven individuals’ serious conditions. According to reports, a young girl who was trapped under an armoured police vehicle and a women with an asthma condition, thought to be a Moroccan national, trapped under tear gas are fighting for their lives.

At the time of writing this statement, hundreds on working people, students, environmentalists, socialists, trade unionists, ordinary people continued to gather at the Taksim area to oppose and show their anger against the excessive use of power by the police and the state. The standoff between security forces and protestors, now numbering thousands, has continued well into early hours of Saturday, with its end not yet in sight. The state media and most media organisations have turned a blind eye on what is happening and stopped reporting news to the world. Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and the Istanbul Mayor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu have denied any wrongdoing and defended vehemently the actions of the police. They went as far as labelling the protestors 'trouble makers' with designs to use the protests for advancing their political interests. They have tried to block all 3G mobile phone signals to stop the news spreading. But there is now a wider anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the police in Turkey. The unrest has spread to many cities such as Ankara, Izmir, Konya, Izmit, Bodrum and many more. Slogans such as 'Erdogan must go,' 'Erdogan out,' and 'Chemical Erdogan' have been echoed by thousands of people around the country. Some unconfirmed reports also suggest that around 400 police officers have resigned from their positions.

Given these important developments, we are urging all our friends in UK to show their solidarity and send messages of protest and condemnation to the Turkish Prime Minister, the Istanbul Mayor and the Chief of Police in Turkey. E-mail and fax addresses for messages of protest:

The Turkish Republic, Prime Ministry
Tel: +90 312 422 10 00
Fax: +90 312 422 18 99

Mayor of Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 204555953

The Turkish Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs
Fax: +90 312 418 12 60

Turkish Embassy in Britain
Tel: 020 7393 0202
Fax: 020 7393 0066

Turkish Consulate in London
Tel: 020 7591 6900
Fax 020 7591 6911

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