Greenpeace responds to the latest police assault on peaceful protestors in Gezi Park

Press release - 16 June, 2013
Istanbul, June 16, 2013 - In the face of the latest fury unleashed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the peaceful protestors in Gezi Park, and the callous disregard of his police force for public safety, Greenpeace condemns the state violence.

Greenpeace again calls upon the prime minister to stop the violence. We appeal to both the president and the mayor of Istanbul to step in and help end the violence. Greenpeace calls on all sides to be peaceful.

We ask Prime Minster Erdogan to explain how a peacefully occupied park and a square that has hosted beautiful and tranquil piano recitals over the last two evenings does anything other than honor Turkey's democracy and enhance its standing in the eyes of the world?

We ask what laws of significance have been broken to justify tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and an overwhelming show of police force?

Why is a fury being unleashed to clear the innocent from a park the government has no appreciation of and wishes to bulldoze, a park the prime minister has promised to leave alone until after the so-called referendum?

Greenpeace condemns in the strongest possible terms this latest brutal attack by the state on peaceful protestors, on civil liberties and democracy itself.

What is Prime Minster Erdogan afraid of? Does he fear that what started as a humble act to protect a simple city park has opened the eyes of the Turkish people to the government's disregard and contempt of their civil liberties and environment compared with unchecked development and private profit?

Why does the government feel threatened when people want to participate in the key decisions affecting their environment and natural heritage?

The government has begun the destruction of hundreds of thousands of trees in Belgrad Forest for the construction of the third bridge over the Bosporus and construction contracts worth billions have already been signed. Commitments have been made to build 60 coal power plant projects, eight nuclear reactors, thousands of hydroelectric dams and mines, which pose a direct threat to people's homes and health.

Many local groups opposing these projects have been subject to the same brutal repression as the peaceful Gezi protestors.

The violence must end now and the debate about development choices, public participation in decision making – daily democracy, not just once every five years – and environmental protection must begin.

Gulcin Sahin, Greenpeace Mediterranean Communications Officer, 0090 530 963 10 91