After the show of two actors, who have not been involved in the protests and did not represent Taksim Solidarity, going to meet PM Erdogan earlier last week, a group from Taksim Solidarity was invited last minute to late night meeting with Erdogan on 13 June and early hours of 14 June.
There are news leaked to the media that the PM’s arrogance and threatening behaviour continued during the meeting including uttering “how dare you!” and verbally attacking and walking towards a representative of DISK (union). [see below for the account of this published in Turkish press]
The government had said they will listen to the decision of the law, if the courts decides to stop the construction they will abide, if the decision is in favour of the construction there will be a referendum. The courts had already stopped the construction before it started in practice in late May. It’s not clear how the government’s statement now about the rule of law and referendum can be taken seriously and as a concession. It cannot. Referendum idea, on the other hand, doesn’t have many supporters either. Majority of the writing on the internet about this (both by professional organisations and individuals) is along the lines of the illegality and futility of such a referendum.
More on the talks: http://bit.ly/13FE7HF
Media claims that PM Erdogan has raged at the previous night’s meeting with the representatives and left the meeting suddenly without even handshakes. They wrote that PM Erdogan was mad at Arzu Cerkezoglu, the General Secretary of Confederation of Progressive Trade Union, about her comment. Cerkezoglu says she told the PM Erdogan “Sir, if we were making this meeting on 25th of May, we could have been talking about the architectural and environmental issues. But it has been weeks now, people are on the streets, 4 of them dead. It has been 17 days, mothers are on the streets. If we are here for the solution, we must talk about the truth. Those people are telling you something on the streets from day to night. Don’t you think that we have to talk about these issues? This is not an architectural issue, it’s a sociologic issue.”
Arzu Cerkezoglu says on the paper “The PM, who has been continuously interrupting my speech, gave a harsh response when I say this is a sociologic issue. He raised his voice and said `Who are you to teach us sociology? We know sociology and psychology. How do you dare saying those to us?`”
Taksim Solidarity issued a press release today.
For English (also reproduced below): http://taksimdayanisma.org/her-yer-taksim-her-yer-direnis?lang=en
Taksim Solidarity generated this announcement through meetings and forums that took long hours till the early morning.
Our resistance that started in order to prevent the demolition of Gezi Park and save its trees has spread to Istanbul and to the entire country with the anger of thousands of citizens accumulated over the 11 years of AKP rule. Hundreds of people completed the 18th day of the resistance.
We witness a resistance, the most expansive struggle to claim our rights in the history of our country, which has been exposed to intense police violence since day one. We are going through a period in which the rights of people, including right to life, are trodden. However, this cruelty have united the crowds instead of disintegrating them, has strengthened the solidarity of the people who get to know each other through this struggle. Under heavy gas bombardment, which suffocated every living being, more and more people filled the streets and turned this resistance into a major social movement.
The government’s fist reaction towards the crystal clear and righteous demands, which have been voiced since the very first day of the resistance was to ignore them entirely. Then, they attempted to divide the resistance, provoke people and damage the legitimacy of the movement. In both national and international public opinion, the government has failed in these attempts. At the end of the day, it was the legitimacy of the government, not the resistance, that eroded. Therefore, with the pressure of our righteous resistance, the AKP government was pushed to address the solidarity and start a dialogue. Nonetheless, this is just the beginning, our struggle continues.
During the first 18 days of the resistance four citizens lost their lives due to police violence: Ethem Sarısülük, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Abdullah Cömert and Mustafa Sarı. Many were wounded, lost their eyes, vision, and even limbs. We feel the pain of those who were killed and remember that they were killed in pursuit of their most basic democratic rights. We repeat that no serious legal action has yet been taken against those who perpetrated and oversaw the actions that lead to the killing of our friends, and we restate that we will make sure those who are responsible for the violence are brought to justice. Furthermore, many people are still in custody due to the arbitrary policies of the security forces concerning custody durations. On behalf of the people resisting in Gezi Park and Taksim Solidarity, we call for the release of those who were taken into custody because of their involvement in the uprisings across the country.
During this time we have seen that we were able to unite, converse, create commons, and struggle together despite the violence inflicted upon us. What was considered to be the weakness of pluralist democracy allowed us to stand tall in resistance against majoritarianism. Against the government’s power, which is dependent on capital and ecological destruction, hundreds of thousands gathered in Gezi Park to defend the trees and thus defended their own lives and freedoms. The Gezi Park Resistance as a space of freedom has shown great resolve in keeping a peaceful conduct against police violence.
As people resisting in Gezi Park and Taksim Solidarity the most important thing we have learned so far is that the resistance cannot be contained within time or space, and that it will continue in every aspect of life, in every part of the city and the country, in every square meter and every moment.
On the 18th day of our resistance, on Saturday June 15th, we will continue our occupation for the park and all the living creatures within it, our trees, our life spaces, our private lives, our freedoms, and our future. We will pursue this struggle until our demands are met.
This resistance will be the reflection of the collective will of Taksim Solidarity and a symbol of our comprehensive struggle. From this day forward, we will continue to fight against all kinds of injustice and suffering in our country with the dynamism and strength generated by our struggle which has spread across the country and perhaps the world. We are stronger, more organized and more hopeful than we were 18 days ago.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING, RESISTANCE WILL CONTINUE!