STOP THE PERSECUTION OF ACTIVISTS IN TURKEY NOW!

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16 activists from the Gezi Resistance in Turkey face trial with prosecutors demanding aggravated life sentence plus 2976 years for their role in "organizing and financing" the Gezi protests during the 2013 Taksim Solidarity protests in Istanbul, Turkey.

This latest attempt by Turkish authorities to put 16 people on trial with an indictment with zero substantiated evidence violates all universal legal norms and is a futile effort to smear this exemplary democratic resistance and criminalize and thus silence environmentally and socially concerned individuals, political parties, professional chambers, NGOs, urban grassroots platforms. It is an unacceptable attempt to reverse universal norms and to intimidate all citizens wanting to use their most basic democratic right to protest in order to protect their rights and commons. 

We reject these efforts and declare that we stand beside these 16 people and the millions that came out to the streets to defend their most basic universal rights. We stand in solidarity with Taksim Solidarity and all the citizens of Turkey, admiring their courage to defend democracy and life.

Solidarity is a duty, not a crime! Read below, sign the petition and share it!

Follow this process on Twitter @defendinggezi / @4HousingandCity and visit http://geziyisavunuyoruz.org

Demands:

We, members of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City coming from 20 countries, together with the signatories of this petition demand the Turkish Government to: 

  1. Stop the violation of human rights;
  2. Immediately exonerate the 16 people on the Gezi Trial;
  3. Immediately release the arrested activists, academics, journalists, university students and artists who expressed their outrage against undemocratic attempts;
  4. Stop baseless accusations of people that express democratic demands (right to the city, stopping evictions, unlawful urban processes etc.);
  5. Stop the attempts that suppress democratic rights for expression;
  6. Bring equal justice for all, especially for the victims of police violence;
  7. Stop targeting and criminalizing journalists, academics, lawyers, doctors and other professionals who seek to reveal truth;
  8. Stop relating the peaceful defenses of rights with conspiracy theories.

We declare that we will closely follow the progression of this case and stand behind our demands to support everyone involved with the Gezi Resistance as it has been and continues to be an honorable mass movement that has inspired many other ‘right to the city’ movements worldwide.

Background:

The Gezi Resistance was sparked at Taksim Square of Istanbul, Turkey in May 2013, due to the disproportionate police force used against the citizens who peacefully occupied Gezi Park in order to protect it from being unlawfully demolished to make way for the construction of a shopping mall. Their determination despite incessant police violence has influenced millions, constituting a unique example to defend environmental justice and urban democracy.

Taksim Solidarity —an exemplary urban initiative with the participation of 126 NGOs, professional chambers, labour unions, political parties, neighbourhood associations as well as individual citizens against the Turkish Government's plans to redevelop Taksim Square, in the heart of Istanbul, including a shopping mall in Gezi Park — was pursuing legal efforts to stop the project when bulldozers entered Gezi Park under the cover of night.

The incessant police violence against peaceful protestors in the following days ignited much wider reactions and caused millions of people to come out to peacefully protest in support of the Gezi resistance all across the country and in fact across the world. Instead of bringing to justice the police officers responsible for the murder of 9 young people during the protests as well as more than 40 who lost their eyes by direct hits of tear-gas canisters, and thousands injured, the Turkish Government has tried repeatedly to criminalize peaceful protestors, doctors who helped them during the protests, lawyers, academics and journalists. 

In February 2019, Turkish prosecutors put forward an indictment demanding aggravated life sentence plus 2976 years for 16 people for their role in "organizing and financing" the Gezi protests. This latest attempt by Turkish authorities to put 16 people on trial with an indictment with zero substantiated evidence violating all universal legal norms, is a futile effort to smear this brilliant and exemplary democratic resistance. It is an irrational effort to criminalize and thus silence environmentally and socially concerned individuals, political parties, professional chambers, NGOs, urban grassroots platforms. It is an unacceptable attempt to reverse universal norms and to intimidate all citizens wanting to use their most basic democratic right to protest in order to protect their rights and commons. 

We reject these efforts and declare that we stand beside these 16 people and the millions that came out to the streets to defend their most basic universal rights. We stand in solidarity with Taksim Solidarity and all the citizens of Turkey, admiring their courage to defend democracy and life.

#geziyisavunuyoruz