Peace activists gather in Taksim square, in the heart of Istanbul, as a giant banner with the words NO TO WAR is hoisted on to the front of the Ataturk Cultural Centre.
Peace activists today gathered in Taksim Square, in the heart of
Istanbul this morning, as the words 'no to war' appeared on the
façade of the Ataturk Cultural Centre. Seven Greenpeace activists
abseiled down from the roof of the building and managed to hang a
huge banner before being arrested by Turkish police. The action was
held in conjunction with the 'No War in Iraq' coalition that
represents over 152 organisations in the country opposing the war,
The protest was aimed at the Turkish government's submission of
a motion to Parliament today, that could open the way for U.S.
troops to be stationed in Turkey for a possible war against
neighbouring Iraq. The 'No War in Iraq' coalition called on the
Turkish government to stand firm against pressure being applied by
the Bush administration for the use of Turkish bases and seaports
for the war on Iraq.
"The Turkish government should not bow down to the pressure from
the U.S. administration, which is now using Turkey's economic
crisis to get the access it needs to Iraq's resources," said Tolga
Temuge, spokesperson for Greenpeace. "Bush's policy on weapons of
mass destruction is arbitrary and inconsistent. Weapons of mass
destruction must be eliminated, not only in Iraq, but also in the
USA and all other countries that possess them," he added.
The Bush administration is pressing on with the war agenda and
increasing pressure on key countries to support a war in spite of
public opposition worldwide. In Turkey, 90% of the population is
opposed to a war on Iraq. 89% say "no" to letting the U.S. use NATO
bases and any Turkish bases, seaports as well as deploying U.S.
soldiers in Turkey in a military operation against Iraq (1).
"The only secure way of removing the threat that weapons of mass
destruction is for all states that possess them to disarm. If Bush
and Blair were serious about weapons of mass destruction, they
would recommit themselves immediately acting on the Nuclear
non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which they and the other three
permanent members of the Security Council have violated for three
decades," concluded Temuge.
Notes: (1) "ABD'nin Irak'a Askeri Operasyonda Bulunmasi ve Türk Halkinin Görüsleri", Sonar Arastirma AS, 25 Aralik 2002. (The US Military Intervention in Iraq and the Opinion of the Turkish Public" Sonar Public Opinion Research Co., December 25, 2002)