Greenpeace joins peace activists in Turkey saying 'no' to war

Press release - 6 February, 2003

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, including Greenpeace.

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)