805 Turkish citizens demand radical change on Human Rights Day

Turkish citizens from academia, the legal profession and medicine issued a statement on Thursday calling for radical steps to strengthen human rights in the country.

The joint statement by the 805 people was made to coincide with global Human Rights Day.

Human rights in Turkey, a NATO member and a candidate to join the European Union, has deteriorated markedly over the past year and beyond as the authorities continued a crackdown on political dissent, freedom of expression, the internet and media.

Here follows the statement in full:

“Our common aim and demand is for a dignified and serene life, in a just, free and peaceful country, where our daily bread and health will be safe and secure,” said 805 Turkish citizens from different professions and institutions on the occasion of Human Rights Day.

Today is Dec. 10 Human Rights Day, which marks the 72nd year since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

On this occasion, 805 citizens from different backgrounds, professions and institutions such as academics, writers, lawyers and physicians have released a joint statement expressing their "common aim and demand for a dignified and serene life, in a just, free and peaceful country, where their daily bread and health will be safe and secure".

"While the pandemic deepens the economic, political and social crisis, we need to envisage a new set of social relations and a radical change in our way of looking at the world, in order to attain the kind of humane life that we long for and deserve," the citizens said and added:

'From authoritarianism to totalitarianism...'

"It is increasingly clear that the one-man regime is neither able to pull the country out of the disintegration it has engendered, nor can it invent a new scenario. The aggressive reaction of the powers that be to the debate over their 'reform' discourse, has once again proven that their rhetoric serves only to delude and mislead the public.

"Above all, they see the evolution of the current regime from authoritarianism to totalitarianism as a guarantee of their continued rule.”

What steps need to be taken?

We say that no rhetoric of reform can be convincing, or solve any of our urgent problems, before:

• A fair amnesty is declared, covering especially political prisoners, rather than discriminatory and arbitrary, sporadic discharges.

• Opposition writers and politicians, who are held in prison in defiance of the rulings of the (Turkish) Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights, are set free.

• Independence of the courts from the administration is ensured, and the Council of Judges and Prosecutors is reorganized.

• Thousands of people, who, by means of "State of Emergency Decrees with the Force of Law" (in the wake of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt), were summarily and without due process dismissed from their jobs, their passports seized, while some are continuing to serve jail sentences, finally have their rights restored.

• More than 80 elected mayors representing millions of voters, but were illegally replaced by the government, are returned to their positions.

• Threats to women's rights cease and equal rights come into effect – (c.f. the Istanbul Convention).

• The plundering of natural resources and the environment for the sake of profits is prevented; all the licenses and grandiose "crazy" projects, which destroy and will continue to destroy nature of which human beings are a part, are revoked, and resources directed towards the basic needs of the people.

'Democratic participation is the cornerstone'

Today, while problems are piling up like mountains, we demand our right to a dignified and peaceful life together, where we can look to the future with confidence, and we say:

• A prerequisite for a dignified existence is that each and every person has food, a job, and a minimum income sufficient to live in humane conditions. People's needs for health, shelter, education must be guaranteed by the state and the costs covered by appropriate provisions in the budget.

• It is the duty of the state, to ensure equal rights and protection for all identities, religions, denominations or beliefs, tongues and cultures, without any discrimination. Everyone who lives in this country, regardless of their identities, opinions, lifestyles, is equal before the law and in the social domain. Freedom and equality are the preconditions for the establishment of a commonality, and for society to become "us" again.

• Democratic participation is the cornerstone of a shared existence and a joint future. In order for all sections of the populace, without exception, to express themselves freely and equally, to organize and to take part in self-administration, the mechanisms for democratic participation must be safeguarded.

'We need to nourish our hope for future'

"At this very critical step, we are in great need of keeping up and nourishing our hope for the future. For 82 million citizens to live freely with equal rights, within the common demands of the people, we believe that, regardless of whether each wing is represented in the parliament or not, a democratic alliance, which will leave no democratic initiative outside its circle and will be the voice of different aspirations all over the country, including women's movements, environmental movements, artisans' guilds, agricultural cooperatives, trade unions, professional associations, civil societal organisations, platforms for rights and justice, with the consent and mass support of the people, can become the hope of millions.

"When this is accomplished, people will head for the light and will give their support to those, who nurture this hope, for our country to reach level ground once again. We expect the democratic opposition to show this courage, assume its duties and responsibilities, and swiftly take the bold step to form an inclusive democratic alliance.


Signatories - 805 citizens

A. Demet  Aşkın - Tıp Doktoru, Abbas Karakaya - Yazar/Seslendirmeci, Abdilkadir Ertekin, Abdo Yılmaz - Emekli Mühendis, Abdullah Çakır - İş İnsanı, Abdullah Demirbaş - Sur Eski Belediye Başkanı, Abdullah Gökdağ - Emekli İmam/Hatip, Abdullah Karakuş - Yük. Lisans Öğrencisi, Abdullah Keskin - Yayıncı, Abdullah Öncül - Urfa Barosu Bşk., Abdullah  Aydın - Öğretmen, Abdullah  Aysu - Tarım Uzmanı/Yazar, Abdurrahman Özpehlivan, Abdurrahman Öztürk - Avukat, Abdülbaki Erdoğmuş - Eski Milletvekili, Abdülhakim Daş - Doğu Güneydoğu Der. Plt. Bşk, Adalet Dinamit, Adil Okay, Adnan Bağcı - Mali Müşavir, Adnan Genç - Gazeteci/Haberci, Adnan Gündoğan - İş Güvenliği Yöneticisi, Adnan Özveri, Adnan Vural - SES Sağlık Emekçisi, Ahmet Akşit - Tarihçi, Ahmet Aykaç - Emekli Akademisyen, Ahmet Bal - Emekli, Ahmet Bozloy - Emekli Medya Direktörü, Ahmet Çakmak - Akademisyen, Ahmet Cihan - Avukat, Ahmet Dindar - Avukat, Ahmet Doğan - Mühendis, Ahmet Erdem - Öğretmen, Ahmet Gürgören - İşsiz, Ahmet Kardam - Yazar, Ahmet Özer - Akademisyen, Ahmet Telli - Şair, Ahmet Türk - Siyasetçi, Ahmet  Güneştekin - Ressam, Ahmet  Kuzik - Fotoğrafçı, Ahmet  Özmen - D.bakır Barosu Eski Bşk., Ahmet  Ümit - Yazar, Ahmet Faruk  Ünsal - Eski milletvekili, Ahmet Hulusi Kırım - Avukat, Ahmet Özdemir Aktan - Akademisyen, Ahmet T. Ural - Mühendis, Akın Atalay - Avukat, Akın  Atauz - Kent bilimci/Aktivist, Akın  Birdal, Alaattin Yüksel - Eski Milletvekili, Alev  Er, Ali Akel - İş İnsanı, Ali Baş - Mühendis, Ali Demiralp - Mühendis, Ali Kulçay - Emekli Mühendis, Ali Mirzaoğlu - Emekli Sendikacı, Ali Özerk - Mimar, Ali Rüzgar - Mimar, Ali Şahin - Yapım Koordinatörü, Ali  Çağan - Ozan, Ali  Kaşıkçı - Hukukçu, Ali  Nesin - Matematikçi, Ali Arif Cangı - Avukat, Ali Ekber  Kaypakkaya, Ali Haydar Çavuş - Matbaacı, Ali Haydar Konca - Eski Bakan, Ali Haydar  Ben - DEDEF Genel Başkanı, Ali İbrahim Tutu - Eski Milletvekili, Ali Kemal Özbiçer, Ali Naci Demiral - Emekli Mühendis, Ali Rıza Ası - Emekli İş İnsanı, Ali Rıza Baloğlu - Bilgisayar Uzmanı, Ali Rıza Şimşek - Yayıncı, Ali Türker Ertuncay - TV Program Yapımcısı, Alican Uzun - İş İnsanı, Alkan Çiçek, Arif Mardin - Akademisyen, Armağan Kargılı - Gazeteci, Artin Yasulkal - Serbest, Askeri Tanrıkulu - İst. Diyarbakırlılar Der. Bşk., Aslan Demiral - TATOSDER Bşk., Aslı  Erdoğan - Yazar, Ateş Aktaş - Emekli, Ateş  Akyurtlu - Akademisyen, Atilla Ansal - Akademisyen, Attila  Tuygan, Avni Atam - Y. Mühendis, Avni Kalkan, Avni Kaya - Akademisyen, Aydın Aydoğan - Aktivist, Aydın Deniz - Gazeteci, Aydın Engin - Gazeteci/Yazar, Aydın Erdoğan - Avukat, Ayfer Hortaçsu - Akademisyen, Ayfer Sargın - Emekli Memur, Ayhan Ergenç - Tekstilci/DGD Plt. Sözcüsü, Ayhan Erkman - Yazar, Ayhan Tural - İşçi, Aykan  Erdemir - Akademisyen, Ayla Türksoy - Gazeteci, Ayla  Tokmak - Modelist, Aylin Tunçer - Arkeolog, Aysen Altınel - Emekli Fransızca Okutmanı, Aysun Hankuet, Ayşe Batumlu Kaya, Ayşe Cemal, Ayşe Erzan - Fizikçi, Ayşe Güngör - Eğitimci, Ayşe  Baykal - İngilizce Öğretmeni, Ayşe  Gözen - Akademisyen, Ayşe  Hür - Tarihçi/Yazar, Ayşe  Önal - Gazeteci/Yazar, Ayşe  Öncü - Akademisyen, Ayşe Berrin Ağaran - Akademisyen, Ayşe Fidan Türkent - Emekli Okutman , Ayşegül Devecioğlu - Yazar, Ayşegül İyidoğan, Ayşın Ekinci - Turist Rehberi, Ayşin Hangül - Mali Müşavir, Ayten  Eren - Diş Hekimi, Aziz Aygün - İşçi, Babür  Pınar, Bahadır Altan - Pilot, Bahadır Çakıroğlu - Öğretmen/İşsiz, Bahise Pirim - Emekli Sendikacı, Barış Ulus - Görüntü Yönetmeni, Barış  Trak - İnş. Mühendisi/Mimar, Barış  Yavuz

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