Sunday, July 18, 2010
Istanbul: Hürriyet Daily News
In both Turkish and Kurdish, “Let guns be silenced for peace and brotherhood” was splashed across large banners as the slogan of a peace march on İstiklal Street in central Istanbul on Saturday.
A platform consisting mainly of conservative bodies such as the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or İHH, the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People, or MAZLUM-DER, and the Free Thought and Education Rights Association, or ÖZGÜR-DER, organized the protest march from Galatasaray to Taksim Square to protest escalating violence between Turks and Kurds.
Approximately 500 demonstrators gathered at Galatasaray Square at 4 p.m. and marched toward Taksim chanting slogans such as “Justice for peace, brotherhood for a solution,” “Let the guns be silenced, let the dirty war end,” “Muslim people are brothers,” and “Muslims do not bow to tyranny.” The slogans were chanted in both Turkish and Kurdish.
Ahmet Faruk Ünsal, president-general of MAZLUM-DER, read a press statement at Taksim calling on both the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, to silence their weapons. Ünsal argued that to not question acts of violence targeting ordinary people is equivalent “to blessing the inhuman violence,” and that such situations “reduce the humanity in all of us.”
“These acts of violence do not help solve the Kurdish problem, but contributes to the polarization desired by fascist circles,” said Ünsal, adding that at its current pace it would take centuries to talk about constitutional changes, government reforms or general pardons, and that the coalition of activists did not want to wait.
“We demand that the Turkish Armed Forces immediately cease operations, the PKK silence their guns, and a social atmosphere of peace and common sense be built in the silent atmosphere that will follow.”