LYMEC, the European Liberal Youth, with the rest of the wider world has been following recent developments in Turkey with apprehension. After years of conservative rule, much of the historical liberalisation of the Turkish people has been jeopardised by growing authoritarianism. The recent attack on peaceful protesters rallying against the devastation of the popular Gezi Park is one example of many movements to destroy the freedoms of speech, public debate and assembly in Turkey.
This decision was the last straw for many Turkish citizens uncomfortable with the increasing role of Islam within what is nominally a secular state. There has been distortions of the rule of law, the over-centralisation of exeuctive power at the expense of the judiciary and severe limits on freedoms of individuals and communities. Recent prohibition of alcohol, restrictive abortion laws and an ever excessive police force, have contributed to the climate of fear in Turkey. During these demonstrations we have also seen that the mass media are directly or indirectly under the control of the government, who tried to manipulate the information about the protest by contoling the information flow and limiting the internet access.
LYMEC calls for the European Parliament, national governments and parliaments and European political parties to put genuine and sustained pressure on Turkish government to stop the police action and these blatant acts of violation against basic human rights and political freedoms. We in particular ask that the AKP’s umbrella party in Europe, the EPP, distances itself from the authoritarian and illiberal acts of repression from the Turkish government.