We are Taksim Solidarity, We are Here!

We are Taksim Solidarity, We are Here!

We are Taksim Solidarity, here to follow up on our demands.

Taksim Solidarity is not an illegal organisation but the pride of this country.

Taksim Solidarity is comprised of 124 trade unions, political parties, community groups, sports club fan groups and initiatives embracing diversity and expressing demands in a peaceful, democratic way. It is supported by environmentalists, artists, journalists and members of the intelligentsia.  It voices a yearning for a greener, more liveable and democratic city and country and is adamant about continuing the struggle for the preservation of Gezi Park and Taksim Square and ensuring that those responsible for police violence are held accountable.

Taksim Solidarity’s demand for a healthy urbanisation and liveable city merged with the cries of millions for more freedom and democracy reflects a social sensitivity symbolised by Gezi Park. The creative genius of the young, the warm embrace of mothers, the power of the working classes and the loud and clear voices of women, the ‘we are here too’ cries of the LGBT community and the revitalised oldies have come together to turn an irreversible page in the democratic history of this country.

Instead of acknowledging this diversity and its demands as a basis for democratic society, a witch hunt has started criminalising trade unions and sports fan clubs and detaining young people. This surely is a dark period for our democracy. It is ironic that those who use the metaphor ‘preparing the conditions for a military coup’ are themselves the ones exercising home raids, strip searches, taking fingerprints by force, roughly treating people, using police reports as bases for court cases, criminalising fan clubs, university students and trade unions.

The primary focus of Taksim Solidarity has always been dialogue between the people and the mayor, the governor, deputy PM and the PM himself. The emphasis has been on a healthy reflection of expectations rather than claims for representation.  The trade union leaders who had attended meetings with the deputy PM Bülent Arınç on the 5th of June and the PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the 13th have illegally been taken from their homes a month later and were held under extended police custody and some arrested as leaders of an illegal organisation. These are worrying signs about the quality of the government we have.

Taksim Solidarity will continue to convey the legal and rightful demands of the people, strengthen channels for dialogue and thus our democratic traditions.

It is now public knowledge that the plans for the dehumanisation of Taksim Square and the development of Gezi Park were against the law and the principles of architecture and town planning.  This arbitrary approach has been proven to be unlawful as certified by the verdicts of the court cases initiated by the trade unions within Taksim Solidarity.

Hundreds of thousands of signatures were collected under the initiative of Taksim Solidarity to show the citizens that the project to turn Taksim into a pedestrian-only area was a major blow to Istanbul.

All these efforts turned into something else when City of Istanbul Council has arbitrarily and illegally started cutting the trees in Gezi Park on May the 27th.   Members of Taksim Solidarity and the protesters standing up for the park and living spaces were subjected to violence during dawn operations.  Soon, millions were in the streets voicing their democratic reaction against police violence and demands for less interference in personal life, more freedom and democracy and respect for differing opinions. A tangible request encompassing these was the fulfilment of the demands for Gezi Park.

These spontaneous countrywide civil society initiatives have unfortunately been confronted with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Four youths have lost their lives as result of violence by the police and their accomplices. A young police officer fell to his death in Adana. Tens of people suffered head traumas, strokes. Some were permanently disabled. We would like to once again give our condolences to the families of all those who passed away and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. How inhuman and incomprehensible is it that the government has still not shown any empathy with the families who have lost their beloved children?

Democratic demands can undoubtedly be met by democratic means. Our society needs an approach by the public administration perceiving the issues, demands and expectations and taking steps in their solution.

We are worried about the criminalisation of democratic reactions and the treatment of everyone as guilty, as terrorists and the use of police force pushing issues to intractability.

We have an open call to those who would like to create an illegal organisation out of Taksim Solidarity. Everything to do with Taksim Solidarity, a democratic convening of institutions and civilians, the callers, components, press releases, activities, demands are open, transparent and legal. It is actually illegal to criminalise trade unions, labour unions, political parties, community and environmentalist groups, sports fan clubs. This primitive approach sets democracy back a hundred years.

We invite all segments of the society to respect the law, democracy and human rights.

Taksim Solidarity