Those who ‘stand all together’: We haven’t collapsed, we stand firm, we will resist

Rojda Oğuz

ISTANBUL – One thousand people including writers, scientists and politicians declared, “We stand side by side, all together” against increasing pressure in Turkey. Artists explained why they signed the public statement. “We have to defend the ground we stand on. We are right. We have legitimate demands. Thus speaking up together against the government’s attitudes will have a significant impact”.

One thousand people including writers, academics, artists, scientists, politicians, lawyers and opinions leaders from different segments of the society and from different political views declared a public statement called “We stand side by side, all together” against repercussions of the political crisis in Turkey, at Point Hotel in a press conference. The participants spoke of government’s war policies in Kurdistan, the winning party of the Turkey’s constitutional referendum and reactions from Turkey’s opposition during the conference. Gülriz Suriri, stage actress, Ayşe Hür, journalist and writer, and Zeynep Tanbay, dancer explained why they signed the public statement to the Gazete Şûjin.

“I stand for academics, reporters and the oppressed!”

Gülriz Sururi stated that she had not known the number of opponents in Turkey until a few months ago, but found it out as the opponents spoke up against the manipulations on the number of those who voted “no” in the referendum. “I was terrifically excited to find out what a large group we were. Not knowing how many we were was bothering me.” As to why she signed the statement called “We stand side by side, all together”, Gülriz said: “I am very happy to find an opportunity to express myself and unite with others as an individual. We are a large group of people. Against our opponent who has money, power and benefits from all the facilities of the state stand entirely naked people. We are these naked people. If we are more people, we will eventually win. I am here for all academics, reporters, youngsters and the oppressed.”

“We will defend the ground we stand on”

Speaking of the academics that were sued and dismissed after signing the petition for peace, Ayşe Hür said that human rights defenders all over the world respected these academics. Reminding Noam Chomsky’s remarks saying, “There are no as courageous and altruistic academics and intellectuals as those in Turkey”, Ayşe explained why she signed the statement. “I am here to raise my voice against totalitarian regime’s increasing pressure and oppression on us, and to say that ‘we have not collapsed, we stand firm, we will resist and we will defend the very ground we stand on”.

‘We have legitimate demands’

Referring to the criminalization of the defenders of peace, Ayşe said: “You can find answers in some questions. During the course of the history, authorities have always seized the opportunity to restrain freedoms. If we do not stand against it, if a permanent dynamic and democratic community is not established, and if the civil society, academia and people are not on full alert, the tendency to restrict freedoms will gain more ground. We have to defend the very ground we stand on. We are right. We have legitimate demands. Thus speaking up together against the government’s attitudes will have a significant impact. I think such meetings will be very significant.”

‘We met on a common statement against polarization”

Zeynep Tanbay said: “There are left-wingers, right-wingers, Muslims, atheists, conservatives, ‘no’ voters and ‘yes’ voters in this group. We met on a common statement against all this polarization. It represents a very important thing. The majority of people in this country demand democracy, justice and equality. Under these circumstances where there is no free media we hardly believe that our voices will be heard, but we will never give up.”

Zeynep noted that they would continue to speak up on social media as well as long as their statement is not brought into action adding that truth cannot be concealed.