On 31th May 2013, what started as a small peaceful demonstration over the plans to turn Gezi Park in Taksim Square, Istanbul into a shopping mall, turned into continues protest of citizens throughout Turkey. The police used disproportionate force over the peaceful demonstrators with use of tear gas and water cannons. Violations of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, such as blockage of social media and restriction to public space of citizens, have been reported.
While monitoring these developments closely, we share concerns of our Turkish member organization Third Sector Foundation (TUSEV) that the excessive use of force against protests in Turkey disregards the freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly as guaranteed by international human rights standards.
Turkish authorities should:
• Show respect for the civil society who has the right to associate and organize peaceful demonstrations as an essential aspect of a healthy democracy;
• Make all necessary steps for the basic legislation and practice on the freedom of association, assembly and expression, esp. Law on Assembly and Demonstration currently under threat, to be brought to speed with the needs of Turkish citizens and with the international norms and practices.
BCSDN supports the efforts of TUSEV, all CSO and individuals who wish to peacefully demonstrate and show their opinion about any public policy or decision-made by the public authorities.