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The following announcement was made by Taksim Solidarity following their meeting with acting Prime-Minister Bülent Arınç on 5 June 2013. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

To the Government of the Republic of Turkey and Public Opinion

In response to the police violence unleashed by the government in the face of the social sensitivity displayed following the attempt at around 22.30 on 27 May 2013 to physically demolish Gezi Park in Taksim, citizens all around the country, headed by those in Taksim Istanbul, are reacting in a democratic manner. We would initially like to state that we share the pain of the families of citizens who have lost their lives and express the wish that thousands of injured citizens make a speedy recovery.

Unfortunately, those in power continue to respond to the exercising of one of society’s most fundamental democratic and human rights, that of setting out its demands in a peaceful and democratic manner, with violence, suppression and prohibitory policies. We wish to make it known that we have devoted great effort towards eliminating tension and immediately fostering a social climate in which democratic demands may be expressed without a single citizen suffering as much as a nose bleed.

Consequently, we Taksim Solidarity expect concrete steps to be taken by the Government to immediately bring about the following demands.

WE DEMAND

- Gezi Park must remain a park. That an official announcement be made to the effect that Taksim Gezi Park will not be built over, either under the title Topçu Kışlası or any other title, and that the project has been cancelled.

- That initiatives to demolish the Atatürk Culture Centre be halted

- That all those, starting with the Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay Provincial Governors and Police Chiefs, who prevented the people from expressing their most fundamental democratic rights in starting resistance to the destruction in Taksim Gezi Park and ordered this to be violently supressed, implemented this order or saw to it that it was implemented, and are responsible for the injury of thousands of people and the loss of the lives of our citizens named Mehmet Ayvalıtaş and Abdullah Cömert be removed from office,

- That the use of gas bombs and similar items be prohibited,

- That an announcement be made to the effect that all of our citizens who have been arrested for taking part in the resistance throughout the country will be released immediately and no investigation of any kind will be initiated against them, and

- That prohibitions and de facto restrictions on meetings, demonstrations and activism in all of the squares in Turkey, particularly the First of May venues of Taksim and Kızılay, be ended.

In addition to this, we believe that those in authority must make themselves aware of the content, spirit, expectations and demands inherent in the reactions that have poured out into our country’ s squares, streets, roads and all public spaces since 22.30 on 27 May. The attempt to describe what has happened as being ‘marginal’ amounts to denial. It is apparent that the approach to governing that was symbolised in the Gezi Park intervention has been perceived by our citizens to be an interference in their private lives and an expression of contempt for them and they, female and male, young and old, produced a huge social outburst of reaction to this; they replied, “We exist, we are here and we have demands.”

We wish to convey to those in power that the content of this upswell of reaction is opposition to the plunder of our ecological assets, not least the third bridge and hydroelectric power stations, and currently to the Draft Law for the Protection of Nature and Biodiversity, opposition to the policy of war with reference to our country and region and the demand for peace, the sensitivities of our Alevi fellow citizens, the justified demands of the victims of urban regeneration, the voice rising up against conservative male politicians who would control women’s bodies, the demands of all workers in the face of the expropriation of their rights, not least Turkish Airlines workers, the fight against all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity, and the call for the lifting of all barriers to citizens attaining their rights to education and health.

TAKSIM SOLIDARITY

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton