A thousand people including writers, experts, artists, lawyers, intellectuals and politicians called on people to unite against one-man rule for peace and democracy in Turkey in a joint statement titled “Side by side, together” in İstanbul on Wednesday, the T24 news portal has reported.
“As the joint owners of this soil, we do not want to be divided and separated as Turkish-Kurdish, religious-secular, yes-naysayers [in a referendum held on April 16] … ” says the statement.
Ertuğrul Günay, former culture minister of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government; Ertuğrul Yalçınbayır, founding member of the AKP and former deputy prime minister; Fatma Bostan Ünsal, founding member of the AKP; academics Ergun Özbudun, Ali Nesin, Murat Belge and Şevket Pamuk; journalists and writers Hasan Cemal, Kazım Güleçyüz, Nuray Mert, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Oya Baydar, Ümit Kıvanç, Yasemin Çongar and Levent Gültekin; and artists Genco Erkal, Gülriz Sururi, Zuhal Olcay and Zülfü Livaneli as well as deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are among the signatories of the statement.
Expressing concerns about the atmosphere of conflict, hate speech, violations of the law, limitations on freedoms and the safety of life and property, the statement says: “We are against one-man rule, the party state, injustices, unlawfulness, weakening of the parliament, and suppression of all sorts of opposition by pressure and threat.”
“We say no to all victimizations created by the despotic politics which purged hundreds of thousands of state employees, politicians, academics, media, judiciary and security members with unjust, unlawful, arbitrary policies, arrests and pressure,” adds the statement.
Around 150,000 people have been purged from state jobs in Turkey by government decrees in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.
In the statement, the intellectuals also refused to accept the results of the referendum held in Turkey on April 16 that introduced an executive presidency due to allegations of fraud.
“We do not accept the contradictory results of the referendum, which is trying to legitimize an understanding that destroys our future, and overturn the will of the people by ignoring laws.”
Also asking for an immediate end to the state of emergency that has been in effect since July 20, 2016, in the aftermath of the coup attempt, the statement calls on people, opinion leaders, civilian initiatives and political parties to unite against those who derive power from the politics of fear, tension and polarization, and for the domination of a politics that is concerned with the rule of law, human rights and a pluralist democracy.