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On this Wednes­day May 4th 2022 in the city of Berlin, the first act  in a mobi­liza­tion is tak­ing place that its ini­tia­tors hope to see spread­ing across Europe  in order  to mark the indig­na­tion pro­voked by the recent sen­tenc­ing in the so-called “Gezi Trial”.

The ver­dict and sen­tences pro­nounced against the eight dis­grace­ful­ly “accused” are unac­cept­able, con­sist­ing of a revenge by the regime via a pro­ce­dure of injustice.

Osman Kavala was sen­tenced to incom­press­ible per­pe­tu­ity impris­on­ment and along with him, the 7 oth­ers con­demned must be sup­port­ed, and the ver­dict denounced inter­na­tion­al­ly as vio­la­tions of basic human rights and, specif­i­cal­ly,  the right of oppo­si­tion to a regime sub­ject­ing its peo­ple to oppression.

Five per­son­al­i­ties have joined togeth­er to hold in Berlin  a “march-demon­stra­tion” of an unusu­al kind. All five of these per­son­al­i­ties have known per­son­al­ly  the expe­ri­ence of  Turk­ish prisons…

Here is the press release they sent us: 


Voici le communiqué qu’elles nous ont fait parvenir :

We don’t recognize the Gezi Park décisions!

In Berlin on May 4, we are march­ing to protest the base­less con­vic­tions of Osman Kavala and sev­ent human rights activists inTurkey

Tak­sim every­where, resis­tance everywhere!”

In the sum­mer of 2013, Turkey was the scene of the most pop­u­lat­ed protests in its his­to­ry. That sum­mer, Erdoğan’s gov­ern­ment announced its deci­sion to build a shop­ping mall in Tak­sim Gezi Park in cen­tral Istan­bul and began cut­ting down trees to do it one night. That night, first envi­ron­men­tal­ist youths, then local res­i­dents, lat­er the peo­ple of Istan­bul flocked to the park to pro­tect the trees. When the gov­ern­ment retal­i­at­ed and set fire to tents set on the park, Tak­sim Square became a resis­tance area where thou­sands of peo­ple met. This sol­i­dar­i­ty sud­den­ly became a protest attend­ed by mil­lions all over Turkey. The agen­da was no longer the park, but gov­ern­ment pres­sure, envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, impo­si­tion of a uni­form type of life. Peace­ful protests end­ed in blood­shed as police bru­talised crowds: 10 peo­ple were killed.

Believ­ing that Gezi Park protests were a rev­o­lu­tion attempt pro­voked by the West to over­throw him, Erdoğan and his gov­ern­ment tried to exact revenge by keep­ing busi­ness­man Osman Kavala, a pio­neer of civ­il soci­ety, in prison for 4.5 years with­out a judi­cial deci­sion. Last week, Osman Kavala was sen­tenced to life impris­on­ment by the deci­sion of the judges pan­el, which includ­ed a judge who was a pre­vi­ous nom­i­nee for par­lia­ment by the rul­ing par­ty. While sev­en human rights activists who strug­gled for the con­ser­va­tion of Gezi Park, Mücella Yapıcı, Can Ata­lay, Hakan Altı­nay, Çiğdem Mater, Tay­fun Kahra­man, Mine Özerden, Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, were sen­tenced to 18 years in prison each and jailed. This was a pun­ish­ment hand­ed down not only for them, but for the near­ly 10 mil­lion peo­ple who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Gezi protests.


Erdoğan and his gov­ern­ment are tak­ing advan­tage of the world’s pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the war in Ukraine to increase pres­sure and extend his deplet­ed polit­i­cal life. We, as those who were for­mer inmates that expe­ri­enced those pris­ons where tens of thou­sands of dis­si­dents are still serv­ing time in Turkey, declare that: We do not rec­og­nize the Gezi deci­sions of regime’s unjust judi­cia­ry­We are mak­ing a call to pro­tect the human rights and civ­il soci­ety defend­ers con­vict­ed to show sol­i­dar­i­ty with the mil­lions who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the protests.

Wends­day, May 4, 2022, at 11:00,
To demand con­crete action in favor of human rights we’ll meet infant of the PM’s res­i­dence. We will then go to the Par­lia­ment, demand­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with Turkey’s demo­c­ra­t­ic forces.

We will then move to the Euro­pean Union Office to ask the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights to act deci­sive­ly to enforce its deci­sions. And our last stop will be the Turk­ish Embassy to protest Erdo­gan and his party’s repres­sive regime.

A repro­duc­tion of a cell in Silivri Prison, Europe’s biggest prison in the out­skirts of Istan­bul that sym­bol­izes the repres­sive regime in Turkey, will accom­pa­ny this march.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Reporters With­out Bor­ders and Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al will also be among us at this march to demon­strate their objections.

We invite you all to fol­low this protest.


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