Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Police & Protesters face off over Taksim.

Turkey is prosecuting members of the Taksim Solidarity group in retaliation for the Gezi Park protests.

Taksim Solidarity is standing trial today. For raising their voices against all the injustice and crimes committed by the state against civilians. For trying to stop the unlawful destruction and demolition of public spaces. Members of Taksim Solidarity were detained illegally on false charges last year on July 8th, and one after another prosecutors refused to allow a case to be opened. Prosecutors were changed due to active pressure from the government, and finally the newly appointed prosecutor accepted the case and accused Taksim Solidarity of being a “terrorist organization.”

The 26 members of Taksim Solidarity began their defense with Mücella Yapıcı’s remarks. She gave a historical account of the movement and restated the fact that the organization was founded on February 15th 2012, and not on the day when the Gezi Park protests began, May 27th 2013. She emphasized the fact that people who are only making use of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights are being put on trial while murderers and those who gave the orders walk around freely. Yapıcı also stated that the initial aim of Taksim Solidarity was to stop an unlawful attempt to demolish the park and put pressure on authorities to respect the court’s decision to halt illegal construction projects.

Yapıcı continued by telling how she was detained in the first place. In her words, “When governor Mutlu stated that the park was clear and everyone can enjoy it now, we wanted to go to the park, when suddenly hundreds of police started surrounding us and we were arrested for going to the park. When we asked why we were told that we resisted arrest. I only turned my back on the police; if the police accept this I also do. When we were taken to the police station, they carried out a strip search. I was taken to the men’s toilet, where there was a camera. I have a heart condition and I was not given my medication on time.”

Later, when Ali Çerkezoğlu started his defense, he stated “Whereas it is the police, the governor, the mayor and the Prime Minister that are guilty and should be put on trial, we are the ones brought to court. This courtroom is not the place to judge this movement; it is on the squares that this trial should take place.”

The trial is being held at the biggest courthouse in Europe, where the sound systems do not work, thus leaving observers unable to hear the statements. Moreover, only international observers and accredited media members are allowed in the courtroom. Among the observers is listed Amnesty International, which recently released a report stating that 5,500 people are on trial in Turkey for supporting the Gezi Park protests and started a campaign, “I am Taksim” (#IAmTaksim), defending freedom of expression globally and calling for solidarity with Taksim Solidarity. During the recess of the trial for lunch, authorities confiscated copies of Amnesty International’s report from representatives of AI.

Taksim Solidarity consists of over a hundred sub-organizations, including architects, engineers, doctors, lawyers, academics, researchers, etc.

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Photo by Eser Karadağ released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.