We, the signatories, want to express our concern about the repression in Turkey. After the failed coup attempt of the 15th of July 2016 the clampdown on (real or perceived) critics of the Turkish regime quickly spread to all parts of society. More than a hundred thousand people have been fired, an equal number has been prosecuted and/or imprisoned, while a great many of these have seen their properties confiscated. Meanwhile the constitutional changes that will turn Turkey into a presidential system will give ever increasing powers to one single person, the Turkish president.
Under the state of emergency the Turkish regime is drastically cracking down on fundamental liberties, such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, banning strikes and demonstrations and closing over 180 media outlets. No country has more journalists behind bars. The repression against the academic world already started in early 2016 with the prosecution of over a thousand academics who had signed a petition to stop the war in the Kurdish region. After the coup attempt a large-scale purge of the entire educational system followed. The new school curriculum meanwhile banned the evolution theory and added extra lessons about Islam and jihad.
The political opposition has been heavily targeted, especially the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The co-presidents, several members of parliament and thousands of HDP-members have all been jailed. In the Kurdish southeast, the Turkish authorities purged democratically elected mayors and replaced them by government trustees. This while the renewed war in the southeast has left entire cities destroyed and over half a million people homeless.
The purges also hit hard on the judiciary. The day after the coup attempt, over two thousand judges and prosecutors were suspended, a number which subsequently increased. Lawyers are also being arrested, especially when they try to defend those targeted by the purges. The lack of an independent judiciary means there is no rule of law and no fair trials.
The administration, the army and the police likewise saw thousands of people arrested, detained or fired. Businesses are being closed down, their property seized. Finally, human rights organizations, civil society organizations and trade-unions all find their members targeted. Even Amnesty International had its local director and its employees arrested. The purges cause tremendous suffering. Families are separated from their loved ones, who are locked up or forced to flee abroad. Dismissed people often not only lose their job and social status but also their property, which puts entire families into poverty and despair, resulting in a growing number of suicides.
We, the signatories, want to form a broad network of solidarity with all the people in Turkey who are suffering under the oppression. We support the actions and campaigns of various groups and individuals against the current political and social injustice in Turkey. And we ask all democratic political forces and institutions to put pressure on the Turkish government to:
- immediately release all those imprisoned solely for their opinion or political conviction
- to ensure that defendants receive a fair trial and
- reinstall jobs and return confiscated goods and funds to the people who were unduly victimized
We, the signatories, want to further a democratic Turkey in which:
- the state of emergency is lifted
- military operations are halted and replaced by a political process for a peaceful resolution of the “Kurdish Question” and in which victims of the war are compensated and war crimes punished
- a democratic constitution respects the principle of the separation of powers
- human rights and fundamental freedoms are guaranteed, including freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, academic freedom, religious freedom, protection against torture, right to life, right to a fair trial, prevention of arbitrary detention, right to participate in political decision-making, trade union rights, social rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, …
- peoples’ rights are guaranteed and the different ethnic-religious communities can speak their own language, practice their own culture and beliefs and choose their own representatives
Internationale Federatie van Journalisten (IFJ) … Koerdisch Instituut vzw … Vrede vzw … HDP Europe, de Europese vertegenwoordiging van de Democratische Partij der Volkeren (HDP) … Masereelfonds … Barış için Avrupa Forumu (BAF) – The European Forum For Peace … Info-Türk … Institut Assyrien de Belgique … KNK – Kurdistan National Congress … SAP (Stroming voor een Antikapitalistisch Project) – Gauche anticapitaliste … GrondStroom … V-SB … Critica … Roodlinks.be … NavBel, Raad van Gemeenschappen uit Koerdistan … ’t Uilekot vzw … Maison du Peuple BXL … Union des Femmes Socialiste … Werkgroep Vluchtelingen Gent vzw … LEF-FGE (Links Ecologisch Forum) … CCLJ – Centre Communautaire Laïc Juif David Susskind …
ATELIERS DU SOLEIL ASBL … Mouvement Chrétien pour la Paix