Socialist International (SI) members who were gathered in Istanbul for their annual Council Meeting issued a declaration in support of the Gezi Park protesters’ demands on Nov. 12.
The umbrella organization representing socialist parties from across the world described the protests that rocked Turkey between May and July as “a turning point.”
“The Socialist International expresses its solidarity with Turkey’s young generation’s demands for democracy and freedom and for an end to the government’s interventionism,” stated the declaration that was issued following the two-day event in Istanbul.
The five demands of the protesters were expressed by local civil organization Taksim Solidarity Platform, which was one of the first groups that joined the demonstrations to halt the municipality’s plan to cut down the trees at Gezi Park, after a meeting in June with Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
The demands included the preservation of the leafy area at the heart of Istanbul through the cancellation of its redevelopment plan, the investigation of officers involved in the use of violence against protesters, the release and fair trial of those who were detained, and guarantees of the freedom of assembly.
The SI had picked Istanbul as the venue for its Council Meeting to show support for the Gezi Park protests, which marked the largest wave of anti-government rallies in the country’s recent history.
SI President Yorgo Papandreou also expressed his personal backing by visiting the park and planting a tree.
Release of jailed MPs
The declaration at the end of the meeting also called for the release of the deputies sentenced to prison in the Ergenekon or Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot cases and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial.
“The SI notes that the imprisonment of members of Turkish Parliament is against the basic democracy principle and is a violation of the right to vote and be elected,” the declaration said. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and journalist Mustafa Balbay is among the seven MP’s who remain imprisoned.