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European Youth Support for Human Rights and Democracy in Turkey

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Catherine Ashton

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Vice-President of the European Commission

Petition by European Youth in support of Human Rights and Pluralist Democracy in Turkey

We, the youth of European Countries, aged 13 - 30,

Taking into account that human rights, rule of international law and democracy are universal values the observance of which is essential for a government to be recognised as a fully participating member of the European family of nations,

Noting that the Government of Turkey is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and has obligations to its people in accord with that convention, whereby Article 11 protects the right to freedom of assembly and association;

Deeply disturbed by the statements issued by Prime Minister Erdoğan, and other government officials that have dismissed the protests as work of subversive organisations and disorganised efforts by alcoholic and immoral factions,

Deeply alarmed that the actions of the police forces starting from the date of the initial peaceful protests that took place in Gezi Park, Taksim have been conducted in a violent and disproportionate manner in order to unduly restrict the democratic right of freedom to assemble,

Extremely concerned that the excessive and disproportionate use of crowd control tactics utilised by the police during the nationwide protests starting on May 29th, 2013 have caused deaths and severe injuries among demonstrators,

Recognising that 1730 protesters have been arrested or taken into custody during the nationwide protests,

Alarmed by reports that police forces have preemptively arrested university students who have been involved in previous protests,

Deeply concerned by an effort of containment towards higher education institutions, present in Prime Minister Erdoğan’s criticism of university officials granting flexibility in exam schedules due to nationwide unrest,

Concerned that the majority of Turkish media institutions have failed to grant suitable coverage to the nationwide protests started on May 29th, 2013,

Alarmed by Prime Minister Erdoğan's verbal attack towards private firms and intermediary media agents that withdrew their commercial ads from television networks,

Deeply disturbed by the statements issued by Prime Minister Erdoğan in regards to the use of social media during the protests, condemning social media to be "a trouble maker in all societies,"

Request that you make all European Union institutions, including all relevant Committees, sub-committees and Delegations aware of the demands of the undersigned that:

Diplomatic measures be enacted by individual states and the EU to call for the Government of the Republic of Turkey to officially recognize the unlawful police violence and provide remedies for those affected;

A thorough and fair investigation of violence against demonstrators, followed by appropriate prosecution of criminal acts conducted by the police during the protests and a reliable and impartial report into ways to change the way the police forces approaches demonstrators;

A condemnation of the provocative stance the government has taken against accusations, based on real photos and video footage, of the police injuring and possibly causing the deaths of many protestors;

Pressure be brought to bear upon the Government of the Republic of Turkey to ensure that human rights defenders, peaceful protesters, journalists and civil society organizations are free from any harassment;

Condemnation of the complicit media institutions who purposefully failed to provide coverage of the nationwide protests;

Support and recognition of the efforts of the Turkish Bar Association’s pro bono efforts in providing protesters with legal aid and advice on issuing complaints against members of the riot police who had acted disproportionately and violently during the protests;

Support from the European academic community to the academic staff in Turkey who have had to suffer the verbal attack of the members of the government following the recent happenings as well as the harassing presence of riot police on university campuses across Turkey;

An immediate call to the Ministry of Interior and other government agencies alike for reporting accurate and reliable information on the numbers of casualties and damages.


Ceyda Erten Oğulcan Torun Bentley James Yaffe Ceren Ateş Emre Tekişalp


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