Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu describes Gezi as ‘one of the most important struggles of Turkish history’

Duvar English

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that Turkey’s 2013 Gezi Park protest movement was “one of the most important struggles of the Turkish history.”

made the comments on Aug. 26 while taking a field visit to Istanbul’s
Taksim Square and Gezi Park. “The struggle put forward at Gezi was
one of the most important struggles of the Turkish history. This
needs to be understood. If we are visiting here today, protecting the
green and saying ‘let’s create human-centered squares,’ maybe we are
materializing the spirit that wanted to be put forward there,”
İmamoğlu said.

The Gezi movement in 2013 united hundreds of thousands of people across Turkey against the increasingly authoritarian style of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The movement was triggered by the government’s contested plan to redevelop an Ottoman-era barracks in Gezi Park, the small green area on the edge of Taksim Square.

Turkish police suppressed the Gezi protests with tear gas and water cannons. In addition to the 11 deaths and over 8,000 injuries, more than 3,000 arrests were made.

İmamoğlu said that the spirit that was initially dominant at the Gezi movement was to “protect the city, to ensure the justice in the city, to protect the right to speak of some people living in the city and to respect them.”

Now there is little left that could remind anyone of the mass Gezi protests at Taksim. The square at central Istanbul has lost its historic fabric after being turned into a concrete-covered place in recent years.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) has recently launched a design competition to reshape the city’s iconic square. İmamoğlu said on Aug. 26 that the assessments of the final 20 projects for the “Taksim Urban Design Competition” are continuing.

“Approximately 150 projects have joined the competition; almost half of them are from abroad. And now 20 of these projects are being analyzed,” İmamoğlu said, adding that the projects aim to remove the current concrete structure of the square.

“The competition that we are right now holding maybe shows that the spirit of Gezi has reached a success, on behalf of the youth [who lost their lives during the protests] or people who put forth that struggle. I would finally like to say that we are very saddened about the youth that we lost [in the Gezi protests],” İmamoğlu said.

from Duvar English

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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