TIP leader Erkan Bas announces march to protest Gezi verdict
In a dramatic response to the recent verdict upholding prison sentences for several individuals involved in the Gezi Park trial, Turkey's opposition leader, Erkan Bas, has declared his intention to lead a protest march from Hatay to Ankara on Sunday. This move comes in the wake of the Turkish Court of Cassation's decision to confirm the severe penalties, including life imprisonment for philanthropist Osman Kavala and 18-year prison sentences for five others, including Can Atalay, a member of parliament representing the Turkey Workers' Party (TIP).
The Gezi Park trial, stemming from the 2013 Gezi Park protests, has been a highly controversial and closely-watched case that has garnered significant international attention. The Court of Cassation's ruling to uphold these sentences has further ignited the debate on the state of democracy and freedom of expression in Turkey.
Erkan Bas, the leader of the Turkey Workers' Party (TIP), took to social media to express his strong opposition to what he deemed a "judicial coup" against the Gezi Park defendants. He stated, "I do not accept this assault on the freedom of our working people, especially our Hatay MP Can Atalay and all the Gezi detainees whose sentences were upheld. For the sake of freedom, on October 1st, I will take my first step from Hatay to Ankara. I know I am not alone. The palace will also learn!"
The decision by the Court of Cassation prompted an immediate response from the TIP, with the party issuing a statement on its social media channels, declaring, "The judiciary belongs to the people, not the palace! We will not accept the unjust operation against our Hatay MP Can Atalay! Can Atalay, the pride of earthquake-stricken Hatay, is a shining example of our Gezi Resistance history!"
The statement continued, "The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation announced its decision regarding the Gezi Trial. Cezalari bozulan Taksim Solidarity members Mucella Yapici, Yigit Ali Ekmekci, and Hakan Altinay have been released. However, the sentences of our Hatay MP Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Mine Ozerden, Osman Kavala, and Cigdem Mater have been upheld."
This verdict has ignited outrage among opposition parties and activists, who see it as an attack on the principles of democracy and freedom of expression in Turkey. Many argue that the Gezi Park protests were a pivotal moment in the country's recent history, representing a collective demand for civil rights and democratic freedoms.
The TIP's statement strongly condemned the Court of Cassation's decision, stating, "With this decision, the Court of Cassation has openly declared that it recognizes the Gezi Resistance, one of the greatest examples of unity in our country's history, as a criminal element in the eyes of the people."
The statement continued, "Not only that, but by approving the sentence of Can Atalay, who was elected as the MP of earthquake-stricken Hatay by the people, it has violated the right to stand for election and be elected and has insulted the earthquake victims. It has left the blood of those who lost their lives in the earthquake on the ground and said to those who survived under the rubble, 'Your problems do not deserve to be discussed in the parliament.'"
The Gezi Park protests, which took place in 2013, were a significant moment in Turkey's modern history, marked by mass demonstrations against the government's plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul. The protests grew into a nationwide movement, with people from various backgrounds joining in to demand greater civil liberties and government accountability.