Turkish main opposition leader releases message of solidarity on 7th anniversary of Gezi Protests

Duvar English

Turkish main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared a video on social media to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Turkey’s historic Gezi protests of 2013, when an environmental protest snowballed into a months-long anti-government movement.

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Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu shared a video montage of footage from the protests of 2013, over which he is heard reading a poem by legendary Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet.

“It’s not about falling hostage, it’s about never turning yourself in!” Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted along with the video, citing a line from another poem by Hikmet.

The poem read by Kılıçdaroğlu has been translated as “The Song of the Sun Drinkers,” a poem written in epic style about a quest undertaken with friends, while sipping on a “copper mug full of sun.”

The months-long protests caused violent clashes between protesters and police officers, with the latter using teargas, plastic bullets and pressurized water on civilians.

The video Kılıçdaroğlu released ended with photos of more than 20 persons who died during the protests, including 15-year-old Berkin Elvan who died as a result of getting hit in the head with a police gas canister while he was out to buy bread.

Also in the video was a photo of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old university student who was fatally battered by police and opposing protesters in the college city of Eskişehir.

Elvan and Korkmaz’s deaths became a symbol of police brutality in Turkey, as law enforcement continued to utilize brutal methods in the years following Gezi.

A total of 16 people were tried in the case into the Gezi Park protests. Osman Kavala, who was accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of the protests, was arrested in November 2017 on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order through force and violence.

Kavala and eight other defendants were on Feb. 18 acquitted by a court outside Istanbul in the Gezi Park trial. Kavala remains in prison on separate charges.

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About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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