Young European Socialists condemns police violence in Turkey

Young European Socialists (YES), the umbrella organisation of socialist and social democratic youth organisations in Europe and the Mediterranean, has followed recent events in Turkey with great concern. For three days, peaceful protests and occupations starting in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, and by now in several cities across the country, have been met with extreme and unwarranted police violence, including the use of extremely harmful gases: attacks using live bullets and attacks by irregular forces have also been reported. Countless protesters have been injured: some, including Republican People’s Party (CHP) Youth member Abdullah Cömert, have been murdered. Many protesters have been arrested on unclear charges. Despite an international outcry on various social media and a high level of global media attention, the Turkish media appear to have been silenced: the Turkish government’s response has been high-handed and authoritarian.

The government and police response to the protests appears to be characteristic of a generally increased authoritarian attitude of the Turkish government and currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP): recently, several laws fundamentally changing the Turkish state’s attitude towards society and restricting citizens’ freedom, have been passed without due debate, and the government responds to any form of scrutiny with violence, mass arrests and formal and informal media censorship.

Young European Socialists:

-expresses its sincere regrets and condolences to the friends and family of Abdullah Cömert and the other murdered protesters;

-declares solidarity with and support to the protests and occupations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park and across Turkey, as well as with its Turkish member organisation, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Youth, and all other organisations fighting for democracy and human rights;

-calls for the immediate restoration of and respect for democratic standards in Turkey;

-condemns the Turkish government and police’s violent actions, particularly the use of harmful gases and live bullets;

-condemns the apparent silencing of the Turkish media by the government, as well as all other forms of media censorship;

-calls upon its members to organise solidarity and support actions in their countries.

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