A LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY
A LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times
A group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities’ heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times, addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The signatories, including figures known for their activism such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and movie director David Lynch, described the Turkish government as “a dictatorial rule” and slammed Erdoğan’s uncompromising stance regarding the protesters’ demands.
The letter reads:
“Dear Mr. Erdogan,
We, the undersigned, write this letter to most vigorously condemn the heavy-handed clamp down of your police forces on the peaceful protestors at Taksim Square and Gezi Park in Istanbul, as well as in other major cities of Turkey, which, according to the Turkish Media Association, has left 5 people dead, 11 blinded-due to indiscriminate use of pepper gas, and over 8000 injured.
Yet, only days after clearing Taksim Square and Gezi Park relying on untold brutal force, you held a meeting in Istanbul, reminiscent of the Nuremberg Rally, with total disregard for the five dead whose only crime was to oppose your dictatorial rules. There are more journalist languishing in your prisons than the combined number of China and Iran. Moreover, you described these protestors as tramps, looters and hooligans, even alleging they were foreign-led terrorists. Whereas, in reality, they were nothing but youngsters wanting Turkey to Remain a Secular Republic as designed by its founder Kemal Ataturk.
Finally, while you aspire to make your country a member of EU, you refute all criticism leveled at you by its leaders, on grounds of Turkey being a Sovereign State. Notwithstanding, may we respectfully remind you, on grounds of the Convention signed on 9 August 1949, Turkey is a member of Council of Europe, and by virtue of ratifying the Europe Court of Human Rights. Consequently, your orders which led to deaths of five innocent youths, might well constitute a Case to Answer, in Strasbourg.“
The Gezi Park protests in Turkey began when on May 28 2013 the plans of replacing Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940) with the possibility of housing a shopping mall became known. The protests developed into riots when a group occupying the park was attacked by police. The subjects of the protests have since broadened beyond the development of Taksim Gezi Park, developing into wider anti-government demonstrations. The protests have also spread to other cities in Turkey, and protests have been seen in other countries with significant Turkish communities.
On May 31 2013, police suppressed the protesters with tear gas, arrested at least 60 people and injured hundreds. The police action received wide attention online. 5 men died in the clashes between the police and the protesters, more than 7,500 people were injured and about 5,000 of people were arrested. By the data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey, about 2,5 million people from 79 regions took part in the anti-government demonstrations held in Turkey.
“Tayyip Istifa” WE SUPPORT YOU PEOPLE OF TURKEY from Syria
As thousands and thousands call for the government of Erdogan to resign, the police react with brutality. “You brought this on yourself Erdogan! RESIGN ALREADY!”