Target: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Goal: Release peaceful protesters recently arrested in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, and investigate the continued use of excessive police violence against protesters
Peaceful protesters have been arrested in Turkey, following excessive and violent police force against crowds in Istanbul. The human and civil rights of Turkey’s citizens are in danger as its citizens face an increasingly restrictive and authoritarian government. Urge Turkish authorities to free the peaceful protesters and investigate the police violence against protesters across the nation.
The original protests occurred in Istanbul’s famed Gezi Park in May 2013, where a small gathering of protesters against building a proposed shopping mall there were met with a swift and violent crackdown by police. The retaliation sparked an anti-government movement that continues to gather at the park and adjacent Taksim Square. Four people have died in the clashes between protesters and Turkish police, and hundreds have been injured by tear gas canisters, water cannons, and rubber bullets, according to news reports.
Gezi Park was closed for three weeks after police expelled people who had camped there; according to the Associated Press, its reopening turned violent again as police used a water cannon and tear gas against protesters who were attempting to gather in adjacent Taksim Square. A 17-year-old protester was critically injured when he was struck by a tear gas canister. According to human rights group Amnesty International, representatives of Taksim Solidarity, “including the General Secretary of the Istanbul Medical Association, Ali Çerkezoğlu, and the Secretary of the Chamber of Architects, Mücella Yapıcı,” were arrested. These are peaceful protesters who may now face charges.
“The authorities in Turkey have the duty to ensure people can peacefully gather and express their views,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International. “It is imperative that an impartial investigation into the alleged abuses by riot police is carried out as soon as possible, and that those responsible of any crime face justice.”
Turkey faces an ongoing human rights crisis as its people face the destruction of their democratic right to gather and express their views peaceably. Sign the petition below to tell the Prime Minister to release the peaceful protesters and investigate abuses by police against protesters across the country.
Dear Prime Minister,
I urge you to push for the release of peaceful protesters arrested in Taksim, and to investigate the use of excessive police violence against protesters near the square and in Gezi Park. When people are confronted with violent force as they gather to express their views, it is a sign of an authoritarian regime, not a democracy.
The violence against peaceful protesters must stop. Release Ali Çerkezoğlu, Mücella Yapıcı, and other peaceful protesters immediately, and launch an impartial investigation of excessive police retaliation against protesters.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mstyslav Chernov via Wikimedia Commons