Istanbul Peace rally: We'll advocate democracy and peace together

"We will lead a stronger struggle for democracy against the one-man rule. We will reclaim our votes, our will, co-existence and fraternity. We are in Amed, in Van, in Mardin and in Çanakkale."

The World Peace Day rally promoted by Labor, Peace and Democracy Forces in Istanbul started with the participation of thousands.

The rally at Kartal Square is held under the motto “Peace against War” and “People’s will against trustees” in protest at the AKP regime’s seizure of HDP-run municipalities in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.

Deputies from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) and representatives of many parties and civil society organizations, as well as Peace Mothers and mothers with white headscarves are also attending the rally. People started to gather at the square under police blockade starting from early morning hours.

Slogans chanted by the crowd include “We will advocate democracy and peace together”, “Peace against war, popular solidarity against trustees”, “Shoulder to shoulder against trustees from Istanbul to Mardin”, “Amed people are not alone”. Women are also protesting the killing and abuse of children.

Some of the politicians joining the rally are; HDP deputies Saruhan Ulaç, Fatma Kurtulan, Hüda Kaya, Züleyha Gülüm, Zeynel Özel, CHP deputies Mahmut Oral, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Ali Şeker, Halk Evleri (People’s Houses) Co-chairperson Nuri Günay, HDP Istanbul co-chairs Cengiz Çiçek and Esengül Demir, CHP Istanbul chairperson Canan Kaftancıoğlu, Amed Unions Federation President Ali İhsan Dinçer, Democratic Islamic Congress President Ekrem Baran as well as many artists and representatives of several institutions and establishments.

The opening speech by September 1st World Peace Day organizing committee pointed out that the AKP-MHP government was coming to an end and was trying to prolong its life by means of repression, bans and war policies.

The Committee said; “We will lead a stronger struggle for democracy against the one-man rule. We will reclaim our votes, our will, co-existence and fraternity. We are in Amed, in Van, in Mardin and in Çanakkale. A peace not built by peoples is not peace. We will deserve and achieve peace.”

A message sent by dismissed co-mayor of Mardin, Ahmet Türk, was read after the opening speech. The message of the Kurdish politician said; “we all know that peace, justice and equality will come one day. We will organize peace against war in our country and in the region.”

The joint declaration of all institutions was read by TİHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) President Şebnem Korur Fincancı and artist Orhan Alkaya.

The declaration said; “Peace is a must to advocate our labor and democracy. The warmongering and expansionist policies implemented by the AKP-Erdoğan government for the sake of “national security” have turned our country into a part of the war of sharing between the imperialists in Syria, in East Mediterranean and in the entire Middle East. Purporting national security to be a matter of survival, the AKP-Erdoğan government sees the Kurdish people’s achievements in Syria and the region as a threat, pursues nationalist, pro-war and pro-conflict policies to counter this, and tries to silence and oppress the whole opposition and social circles. Faced with a deadlock economically and politically, the government implements the policy of war and conflict as an indispensable means of sustaining the one-man regime.”

The declaration further highlighted the increasing rates of unemployment, dismissals, feminicide, destruction of nature and repression against the society and opposition as AKP’s one-man regime focuses on war.

Referring to the seizure of HDP municipalities in Amed, Van and Mardin, the joint declaration pointed out that the attack against the will of the people and democratic politics was a part of AKP regime’s policies that does not recognize laws and justice.

The declaration pointed out that AKP revenges upon the Kurds who did not vote for the one-man regime, and now tries to get back the municipalities that it lost in the elections.

“We know that what was done in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van is an attack against the will and rights of all of us. The policy of seizing the will of the people serves to legitimize the current regime.”

Putting emphasis on the importance of a multifaceted struggle by all social circles against the one-man regime, the declaration vowed to give an even stronger fight for democracy against the one-man regime.