Feminist Resistance in Taksim Gezi Park

A message from ESITIZ – Equality Watch Women’s Group

FOR PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM IN TURKEY AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD…
The peaceful protest which began on May 27, 2013 against the cutting of trees in İstanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park to replace them with Topçu Kışlası (Military Barracks demolished in 1940) and a shopping mall was met with police intervention as they threw gas bombs at the sleeping protestors in their tents, burned down the tents and the musical instruments of the activists. Thousands of Istanbulites of every political persuasion, age, gender and sexual orientation reacted immediately to this vicious police intervention.

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The Gezi Park Resistance became a social movement because of:
· The vicious police attacks and intense use of gas and violence against the civilians who came to Taksim to support the Gezi Park Resistance on May 31;
· The censorship of mainstream media blacking out the events, and their disinformation efforts; and,
· The government’s use of provocative, humiliating, polarizing, threatening discourses against the people instead of retracting.
BOTH THE RESISTANCE AND THE ATTACKS ARE CONTINUING….
* Anti-government protests against the Prime Minister and the government are still ongoing in all the cities, neighborhoods and public spaces of Turkey with public demonstrations and boycotts at universities and high schools,
* The official toll of the vicious police attacks during these protests is 2 dead and hundreds wounded, 20 of them in a critical state,
* Thousands of protesters and nearly 30 twitter users have been taken into custody. They want to try them as “terrorists” despite the fact that they were using their constitutional right of expression, meeting and demonstration and participated in peaceful demonstrations,
* A national general strike began on 5th June and anti government demonstrations are continuing.

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THE GOVERNMENT’S MARTIAL LAW LIKE GOVERNANCE MADE THE PEOPLE RISE IN REVOLT
The current events taking place are a result of the antidemocratic and oppressive policies that have been practiced in Turkey for years.
The actions below culminated in millions of people in Turkey reacting to an unspecified martial law:
· The brutal attacks against the freedom of expression, organizing and peaceful protests, as was observed a month ago at the 1st Maydemonstrations in Taksim and gas attacks for all subsequent protests in Taksim,
· The cities and public spaces being pillaged by being turned into unearned income opportunities for politicians,
· All anti-environment and anti-culture policies such as plans to construct a canal between the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, planned Hydroelectric Power Plants (HES), the construction of the 3rd Bosphorus Bridge, the demolition of historic Emek Movie Theatre, the pillaging of Ataturk Forest Farm and Belgrade Forest, mining activities on Kaz Mountains and elsewhere,
· The assaults against private life and secular life style,
· The neo-liberal policies attacking labor and social rights,
· The gradually increasing lack of trust in the judiciary due to severe violations of the right to fair trial, and the transformation of the judiciary and all legal remedy mechanisms into nonfunctional shams,
· A de facto ban of abortion and C-sections, and being insensitive towards the cultural, legal and political demands of women and for creating anti-female policies,
· The monopolization of the media, the high levels of censorship and auto-censorship, the firing of journalists standing up for the right of the public to trustworthy information,
· The blacklisting of people in academia and pressures against independent academic studies,
· The lack of investigation into the claims of corruption in university entrance exams like the ÖSS, KPDS, and no impunity for the parties responsible,
· Ever increasing youth unemployment and ignoring the anxiety of youth about their future,
· The legislation of laws, aimed at completely changing fundamental policy fields very closely pertaining to the future of the country such as the education system, without ever being debated or discussed, but unanimously passed surreptitiously in parliament sessions in the middle of the night with undue haste and confusion. The law passed to intervene in people’s life styles is one such example.THE DISSENT OF WOMEN
In a country where at least five women are killed every day and the killing of women has reached the level of femicide, the government has wearied women with their patriarchal and morality based discourses.

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Women have become one of the main forces behind the foundation of this resistance due to their grievances on these issues:
* The disbanding of the Women’s Ministry,
* The lack of effective punishment for the perpetrators of harassment and rape crimes and   for the prevention of child sexual exploitation,
* Discourses on the inequality of men and women, discourses and policies claiming that women can only exist within the home,
* Demands for every woman to bear five children, a de facto ban on abortion and C-sections, the requirement of a prescription for morning-after pills thereby paving the way for blacklisting of sexual affairs,
* The lack of women appointed to decision-making mechanisms,
* The hostile attitude towards the women’s movement and feminists

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WE ARE CALLING OUT TO TURKEY AND THE WORLD!
· We call all governments to stop using chemical gas to silence their people, but instead to recognize chemical gas as a weapon; to immediately cease production of chemical gas all around the world, to confiscate the stocks, to ban the use of any kind of chemical gas whether in time of peace or war.
· All the media companies in Turkey and across the world to do their job of supplying authentic information from within the protest, about the true dimensions of the struggle for democracy, peace and freedom which began in Taksim, directly and without censorship to all peoples.
· A warning to be given to governments supporting or staying silent about the anti-democratic practices of Turkey’s rulers for their own profit.
· A joint and more effective struggle to be put up against majority governments for the imposition of fundamentalism on the people as the only alternative.
· Alternatives to be made available and feasible against every part of social/community life being subjected to market norms and be turned into vehicles for unearned income.

IN TURKEY, URGENTLY:

· The government should step down; the Prime Minister should resign from politics. A transition government should be established in order to free Turkey from all the constitutional and legal legislations of the 12 September 1980 military coup, and to fulfill the political demands of all groups.
· Police violence against meetings and demonstration marches all across Turkey should immediately cease. Detentions and arrests should halt and people in custody be released without any charges pressed against them or criminal records filed, effective immediately.
· Starting with the Minister of Internal Affairs, all individuals responsible for the disproportionate violence perpetrated against the peaceful demonstrations should immediately be released from duty, criminal cases should be filed against them and they should be prosecuted for “torture and crimes against humanity” in civil law suits.
· Starting with the Taksim Gezi Park Project, all government projects against nature, history, art, science and labor, should be canceled.
· Policies should start to be implemented that protect the rights of all citizens without discriminating against anyone on any ground, and enable the citizens’ active participation in every field of public life.

WE WANT A WORLD WHERE WE ARE EQUAL REGARDLESS OF OUR DIFFERENCES; A WORLD WITH PEACE, DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM!

ESITIZ – Equality Watch Women’s Group

2 Comments

June 9, 2013 · 4:09 pm

2 responses to “Feminist Resistance in Taksim Gezi Park

  1. I would like to get in touch with these women for an interview. Do you know how I can reach out to feminist women in Turkey?

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